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  1. #1
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    Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    Ezlocal just uploaded a great presentation to Slideshare. Brockton Pomykala emailed me yesterday to give me a heads up and said I could share with you guys.


    Then today they just posted about it at their blog too.

    Competing for Visibility: Google+ Local Ranking Factors

    The shift to social (Google+) has been indicative of a more democratized local algorithm. Further evidence is Google Map Maker being increasingly relied on as the back-end for Google+ Local. Looking ahead, the Google Local Business Center used for edits/updates/reporting will likely be wholly integrated into Google+ Local with Map Maker serving as the back-end “mapper-driven” verification tool.

    We've just put out a 2012/2013 Google+ Local SEO Guide which points out a few things SMB Marketers should be aware regarding some updates to Google+ Local, including a some tips to improve visibility in local search.
    Great job Dave! Thanks for sharing with our members Brockton!

    What do you guys think?
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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  3. #2
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    Re: Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    One thing that really stands out to me is the increased focus on using Map Maker. I was at SMX East and attended the Local University and Map Maker was mentioned in almost every presentation.

    I think the idea of having a dedicated person on your SEO team to focus on Map Maker, building up trust and figuring out how it all works is a smart tactic.

    Speaking of trust, does anyone know how many edits it takes on Map Maker to start having more "influence"? What is a good approval % to have?
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

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    Re: Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    Totally agree on all counts Colan!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen View Post
    Speaking of trust, does anyone know how many edits it takes on Map Maker to start having more "influence"? What is a good approval % to have?
    We have 2 esteemed Google Regional Expert Reviewers that are members here,
    so I'll email Gregg and Andrew and see if one or both can swing by and shed some light.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  5. #4
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    Re: Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    Very interesting slides. Some of it is good advice... in fact some of it I can tell he got from my own posts in the Places forum. Some of it just plain bad, such as the "It's OK to offer incentives for reviews."

    It seems he also might have viewed the Chad Kimball course, or they both used the same erroneous source. Regarding the note on slide 5; RERs have no special editing abilities or trust at all; obtaining the status will not help a local specialist at all. But people still believe it and try for it. Such attempts are obvious to most general users of Map Maker, and RERs are quick to pick up on it when a particular profile is mentioned on the forum. Google is too, and those profiles go on the spam team's watch list. You can spend months earning trust, only to find it reset to zero at a moment's notice by Google. And those people definitely are not earning themselves an invite to the RER program, though if they did they'd be disappointed to learn that their reviewing trust is all that is expanded; and they are now subject to regular audits of their work by their assigned Google rep.

    I don't see Map Maker every becoming the main editing tool for Google+ map issues. It hasn't been designed for the casual user; it is for serious mappers. Map Maker is not really a proper tool for the business owner nor most SEO professionals. Yes, it can show you some things and you can use it for that; but it takes a lot to learn the ins and outs, and even more to learn the relationships between Map Maker and Places. Perhaps if it had been designed specifically to work with Places; but it hasn't. And one should remember that even when using it just to look for issues that what you see might not be what you think it is; it takes someone who has really studied a lot of listings to be able to spot the differences between a merge and edits against guidelines, for example.

    Your idea, however, of having a dedicated person is a good one. Probably what you want to do is hire someone that already knows the system; I myself have been consulting some and working with Local specialists and I know Andrew is also willing. I know that just sounds like self promotion, but that isn't my intention. I regularly see local specialists trying to do things in Map Maker and wasting their time, as they either end up spending days going back and forth with reviewers or they get their edits approved because they somewhat meet guidelines, but they are destined to get re-edited in the future when a Map Maker user discovers them and fixes them to meet our guidelines and standards.

    Your approval percentage should be 100%. Any less, and I'm taking a serious extra look at your edit before I approve it. Part of the review process is us communicating with the mapper and asking for any necessary changes; or a complete undo if the edit is not appropriate. Denials only happen if you refuse or ignore the requests (or occasionally in the case of obvious spammers). There is no reason to have any less than a 100% approval rating, and so any less makes a reviewer wonder.

    As for your influence question, it depends what you mean by that. Editing trust is earned by doing dozens and dozens of reviews of the same type. That is because each type of edit has it's own trust score. So if I make 100 edits where I correct speed limits on roads with local status and they are all approved and marked as excellent edits (a rating that the reviewer applies, but the mapper does get to see), then I will start to have my future edits auto-approved.

    But if I try to edit the speed limits on a highway, I will not have trust on those; and earning trust on a higher priority item will be even harder.

    And if I try to change the name on a local road, I won't have trust in that type of edit. I've specifically earned the trust in speed limits on local (or below) priority. And that trust will only work in certain countries; others might have higher trust restrictions.

    But here's the big thing... trust is NEVER earned on business listing edits. They will always go for moderation in all but some third world countries. Getting these approved quickly requires precise knowledge of the guidelines (dozens of pages worth compared to the 1 page of Places guidelines) plus direct contact with and the trust of a RER.

    So, considering the nature of this forum, I'm pretty sure that when you said "Speaking of trust, does anyone know how many edits it takes on Map Maker to start having more "influence"?", you were referring to how many edits will it take before you will have a trusted level for business edits. The answer in that case is that you will never achieve that, it isn't possible.

    There's probably errors in the above, but it's dinner time and so time to proofread... I'll let Andrew expand on it

  6. #5
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    Re: Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Flash View Post
    ...
    There's probably errors in the above, but it's dinner time and so time to proofread... I'll let Andrew expand on it
    To echo what Flash said and expand on it:

    • RERs get no special editing powers, as we are Trusted Reviewers the same as Google Reviewers
    • RERs have to build editing trust like any other editor
    • Editing trust is regional and tied to the type of edit being made
    • Even if you get to the point where your edits self-publish RERs like the average mapper get "reality check" reviews every so often as QC
    • Google has good spam detection and bots to flag accounts and can modify a user's trust at will and even place them into auto-denial so any edit they make is denied
    • RERs have greater then normal publishing powers of GRs (ie. it normally takes two GRs to approve a simple road or business edit. An RER can publish an edit with their own review)
    • RERs have their reviews audited for QC and if a RER was approving spam maliciously or had a track record of doing shady reviews they'd be bounced instantly
    • There is no magic edit to review ratio that I am aware of. I like to keep my at no more than 2:1 and desire closer to 1.5:1. That's just my preference because I am an RER and want to use my powers for good
    • The reason people make more reviews is to get their reviews to show up in the Review queue; The more Reviews you make the more your edits show up.
    • Spammers and trust builders try this and then when their spammy edits are made their edit is front and center for all to see and *poof* they've exposed themselves and its down hill from there
    • If you want to be able to fix street names, speed limits and low priority road work in a small area and after a while your trust will improve and an RER will likely notice your work
    • Business owners looking for an edge (past the magic line) and unwitting spammers always make the classic mistake of trying to edit/review more than one feature more than 2 times. That instantly locks their account and is documented in the MapMaker TOS or Reviewing Guidelines of something not to do
    • Becoming an RER will do nothing for your business as you can't review your own edits. (Its a big no no and a good way to loose RER status).
    • Befriending one or working with one to push through edits is handy, but since reviews are audited RERs make sure things match the MapMaker guidelines

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    Re: Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Flash View Post
    Very interesting slides. Some of it is good advice... in fact some of it I can tell he got from my own posts in the Places forum. Some of it just plain bad, such as the "It's OK to offer incentives for reviews."

    It seems he also might have viewed the Chad Kimball course, or they both used the same erroneous source. Regarding the note on slide 5; RERs have no special editing abilities or trust at all; obtaining the status will not help a local specialist at all. But people still believe it and try for it. Such attempts are obvious to most general users of Map Maker, and RERs are quick to pick up on it when a particular profile is mentioned on the forum. Google is too, and those profiles go on the spam team's watch list.
    Oh dear. I didn't read every slide, just skimmed and not thoroughly or critically I guess because I def missed those points.

    And incentives for review is totally NOT OK!

    Have to say I'm happy to hear you say how hard MM is and how it's not a great do-it-yourself tool for the average SMB or even consultant.

    That's been my feeling but I started thinking maybe I was a MapMakerphobe or was making it more complicated than it really is. Because I def have MM avoidance and for good reason it sounds like.

    FYI all, I've sent clients to Gregg for consulting and I think it's def worth it to pay a pro to deal with MM quirks - if you value your time and want to avoid headaches and have it done right.

    Thanks for weighing in Gregg!
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Sawyer View Post
    • Business owners looking for an edge (past the magic line) and unwitting spammers always make the classic mistake of trying to edit/review more than one feature more than 2 times. That instantly locks their account and is documented in the MapMaker TOS or Reviewing Guidelines of something not to do
    • Becoming an RER will do nothing for your business as you can't review your own edits. (Its a big no no and a good way to loose RER status).
    • Befriending one or working with one to push through edits is handy, but since reviews are audited RERs make sure things match the MapMaker guidelines
    More good points and kinda what I suspected on several levels. Thanks for all the added points Andrew!

    And are you available for consulting too if folks here need help?
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  9. #8
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    Re: Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Buquet View Post
    More good points and kinda what I suspected on several levels. Thanks for all the added points Andrew!
    You are quite welcome. I'll correct myself my saying that the point you quoted first I wasn't specifically clear (my corrections are in bold):

    Business owners looking for an edge (past the magic line) and unwitting spammers always make the classic mistake of trying to edit/review more than one feature more than 2 times per edit. That instantly locks their account and is documented in the MapMaker TOS or Reviewing Guidelines of something not to do

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Buquet View Post
    And are you available for consulting too if folks here need help?
    Certainly

  10. #9
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    Re: Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    Hey Andrew and Gregg, thanks for the fantastic responses. I always learn so much from reading your insights.

    I probably have some more questions for you but have to run at the moment.

    Thanks again!
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

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    Re: Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility

    What I think is that Gregg and Linda should team up and he should offer some MapMaker training as an extension of Linda's Google Places training. I would totally pay for that I could definitely use more training on Mapmaker.
    Joy Hawkins
    Owner of Sterling Sky
    Author of The Expert's Guide to Local SEO [, a 260+ page training manual that is updated monthly and contains advanced tips and tactics for Local SEO that actually work and drive results.

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