Google+ Local Ranking Factors - Competing for Visibility


Linda Buquet

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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.

Competing for Visibility in Google+ Local - Dave Cosper EZLocal

<iframe src="http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/14771991" width="427" height="356" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" style="border:1px solid #CCC;border-width:1px 1px 0;margin-bottom:5px" allowfullscreen> </iframe> <div style="margin-bottom:5px"> <strong> <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/cosperdave/competing-for-visibilityingoogle-local" title="Competing for Visibility in Google+ Local" target="_blank">Competing for Visibility in Google+ Local</a> </strong> from <strong><a href="http://www.slideshare.net/cosperdave" target="_blank">Dave Cosper</a></strong> </div>​

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?
 

Colan Nielsen

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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?
 

Linda Buquet

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Totally agree on all counts Colan!

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.
 
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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
 
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...
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
 

Linda Buquet

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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

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  • 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?
 
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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

And are you available for consulting too if folks here need help?
Certainly
 

Colan Nielsen

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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!
 

JoyHawkins

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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.
 

Linda Buquet

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I've mentioned to Gregg and I think Andrew too that folks would gladly pay for some MM training. I'm still totally bamboozled by it AND if I was still working on client cases I would DEF pay for that kind of training.

I think they've both subscibed to this thread so hopefully will be by to comment. :)
If not, I'll nudge them both again!
 

Chris Alphen

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I feel alot better now knowing I'm not the only one bamboozled by MM. On more than one occasion I've tried to fix a problem and each time got a little deeper coming away with a greater understanding that this is some serious stuff. My hat is off to Andrew and Gregg not only for MM work but also here and elsewhere.
Currently a client of mine has a map issue and I'm wondering if the edit threshold has been reached inadvertantly as an edit was denied probably due to rookie mistakes because we couldn't get the undo to work on a first attempt. I believe Andrew was the reviewer in that instance so if you are willing to shed some light I'd like to take a crack at fixing the problem in NH.
Training or co-training would help but I'm thinking a solid understanding of MM for me and leave the skill positions to the skilled like Gregg and Andrew.
Thanks Guys
 

Colan Nielsen

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  • 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
Andrew, does this apply to business edits? For example, if I edit a website URL, then a week later I edit the fax#, I can't EVER make another edit?
 
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I think Andrew is more referring to one of two situations:

Editor uses the Maps/Places Community Edits feature to try to change the phone number 3 times in a row; which then shows as 3 identical edits in a row in Map Maker. Somehow people actually seem to think that they can just edit anything on the map and it will instantly change... like that wouldn't be abused. They don't see the change right away so they try again. I think some owners and spammers also might think that doing it multiple times adds enough "votes" to push it through.

Owner/spammer makes an edit with one account, and then goes it with another account and approves it, and then approves it again, and tries a third time. Again, they seem to think that multiple attempts will add together to be stronger. For some, if that doesn't work, they start creating more accounts and approving it with them, so that there are 10 approvals within 20 minutes from people that all have 1 review in their history.

So often I see people think that this creates more evidence for us; the expected that their actions should push it through, and when it didn't then they state it's evidence that the edit is good as some many edits/reviews agree. Instead, it screams to us reviews "probably spam". And Google sees it the same way too, thus the locks for abuse.

(You'll also see many a person convinced that the above methods were used successfully by their competition to either delete them or hijack them.)
 
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Wow! Just trying to play catch up here in the forum and this thread definitely is a good one. As another MM neophyte, I echo Chris

Training or co-training would help but I'm thinking a solid understanding of MM for me and leave the skill positions to the skilled like Gregg and Andrew.
..but still wonder if this forum might not benefit from a webinar series, open to forum members only, that would include topics such as this. Not so much as an end-all-be-all training session but more of intro and basic information. And certainly, I would also not be opposed to paying for these webinars.
 
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Ya, MM training would be awesome. I still have clue what it is or how it's tied to the whole Google local ecosystem. I mean I know what it is, but I still don't know how to use it...or how to use it. Even a remedial course/webinar on it would be helpful. I don't think too many SEO consultants or business owners have a desire to go real deep with it. Just understanding the basics would be huge.

Travis Van Slooten
 

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