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    SBR
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    Local Optimization Case Study


    Doing research for local seo on Google Maps (now called Google Places previously Google Local Business Center or LBC)

    Keyphrase: Window Treatments New York

    Company: horizon window treatments‎

    Reviews: 24

    Avg Review Rating: 4 Stars

    Photos: 5

    Coupons: 6

    Review Clustering & Counts:
    13 - citysearch
    3 - insiderpages
    6 - judysbook
    2 - google

    User Content Section Counts: 5

    Categories: Window Treatment Store, Window Treatment Store, window shades, Motorized remote controled shades and curtains, Drapery and Sheer Curtains, Hunter Douglas, Levolor, Somfy, Lutron, Graber Dealers

    Link: http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=6429599493668404728&q=Window+Treatments+ New+York&gl=us&hl=en&cd=2&cad=src:ppiwlink&ei=t1nf S6e9JoGayAThhK2GBw&dtab=0




    Company: Zarin Fabric Warehouse and Home Furnishings

    Reviews: 11

    Avg Review Rating: 4

    Photos: 4

    Coupons: 0

    Review Clustering & Counts:
    5 - judysbook
    1 - google.com
    1 - nyc.com
    3 - insiderpages
    1 - nymag.com

    User Content Section Counts: 54

    Categories: Upholstery Shop, Retail Stores - Fabric, Sewing Supplies & Notions, Fabric Shops, Retail Stores - Furniture, Furniture, Retail Stores - Lighting, Retail Stores - Hardware

    Link: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&gl=us&g=314+Grand+Street%2C+Ne w+York%2C+NY+10002&q=Window+Treatments+New+York&bt nG=Search+Maps


    Which company would you expect to see as #1?

    If I had to take a guess (without knowing of course) is that the company with the more reviews would win out.

    So the question is: why is the company with the more user content beating out a company with more than twice the amount of favorable reviews?

    Are reviews not as powerful as we currently think? (or at least I did!)

    What is it about the "User Content" area that Google is keying in on?

    Thoughts/Ideas/Comments are welcomed.

    SBR

    Comments on this post

    • PhilipSEO agrees : Thanks for your quality posts on local search. Keep up this excellent work.
  2. #2
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    SBR
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    Follow Up:

    50 of the 54 "User Content" for Zarin Fabric Warehouse are all user generated Google maps.

    To me they look "forced" if you will, what's your take on these?

    Here is a link to the "user content"
    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=10402855707318571008&q=Window+Treatments +New+York&gl=us&view=feature&mcsrc=ugc&num=10&star t=0&ved=0CP0BELUF&sa=X&ei=mGPfS416p-jKBPDU_fUG
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  5. Dancin with the devil
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    It's funny you bring this up b/c I was thinking of doing something similar for our company.

    I to, cannot figure out why this outweighs reviews. My only thought is that more external sources are essentially referencing or voting for the company. You (or at least I did) would think that Google would assign more trust to their own products being that they can regulate it better and detect malicious behavior. Maybe they are letting potential manipulation slide b/c people are using their products. Interesting questions though. Hopefully we find an answer to this.
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Chinese Proverb
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  7. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    One should never forget about backlinks. I think the true answer is here.
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  9. rod@missionop.com
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    Google's all about trust... well I haven't tested this yet ... a thought.

    Reviews: reviews do impact results... massively sometimes... how is trust factored in?

    Well one hypothesis - what's a trusted Google Account?

    How would to evaluate these:
    1. An account that has been setup of 10 years, uses 20+ Google services like WMT, Adwords, AdSense, Maps, Toolbar, Blogspot, and the occasional review in Local search
    vs.
    2. an account setup up recently for local search reviews only

    It's a thought... haven't tested it yet though.
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  11. Dancin with the devil
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    I was thinking along similar lines with people creating their own maps and adding your company to it. It is a Google product, your site/company is on a custom created map within Google by someone who uses their product(s). Makes sense logically that trust plays a large roll.

    I'd definitely be interested in seeing more about this.
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  13. Google+ Local Specialist
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    It's a combination of factors that makes zarin rank higher than horizon. zarin has a lot more citations, user maps and related maps. Is horizon your customer or are you just looking at this example to try to figure out the Google maps algo?

    If horizon is your customer or your site, be aware they have a dup listing in Google maps which is a big no-no. They need to follow the steps to merge the 2 listings and then purge the extra one. The 2nd listing has a review so if the merge is done right that review will be added to the main listing.
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    SBR
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    Originally Posted by CatalysteMarketing
    It's a combination of factors that makes zarin rank higher than horizon. zarin has a lot more citations, user maps and related maps. Is horizon your customer or are you just looking at this example to try to figure out the Google maps algo?

    If horizon is your customer or your site, be aware they have a dup listing in Google maps which is a big no-no. They need to follow the steps to merge the 2 listings and then purge the extra one. The 2nd listing has a review so if the merge is done right that review will be added to the main listing.
    Not a customer, nor am I affiliated with that site, or keywords in anyway, shape or form, was just looking for a really good example of competition in the Google Places/Maps area and why one site with at least at a cursory glance one should be coming up higher rather than the other based upon my previous knowledge of the ranking factors.

    Thanks for the feedback,
    SBR
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    Sure would be nice to see some # of click thru's on the map listing positions? And, if the listing was on the map and 1st or 2nd organically, those #'s as well...

    Since the prominent position / display of the map box, what impact on PPC ad's and natural search clicks.

    I must be in a dream, pinch me please... or just give me your thoughts, thx...
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  19. Google+ Local Specialist
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    Originally Posted by dbrennan
    Sure would be nice to see some # of click thru's on the map listing positions? And, if the listing was on the map and 1st or 2nd organically, those #'s as well...
    I just moved my Chiropractic office client from page 3 of maps to #5 on the 1st page of the serps in the 7 pack. Google hasn't even picked up all the back end work I did on the account yet so I'm sure they will move up to #1 or 2 after all the data updates.

    I'm keeping a close eye on their Google Places stats, which show impressions, keywords and clickthroughs to see how the numbers change as they move up the list. I'll try to share some numbers after I get enough data to be meaningful.

    Unfortunately though no way to track phone calls. And if I sold the practice as well as I think I did in their profile, then patients will just call right from Google instead of clicking through to the site. So no real good way to get hard numbers.

    Maybe if I get time I'll post a case study about this case. It was pretty complicated because they had a fractured listing with 3 Google accounts all in different practice names that had to be merged and purged in Google and throughout all the data centers on the web.

    So anyway it would make a good case study, IF I ever get time. I'll share what I can in the meantime though.

    Comments on this post

    • digahole agrees : "merge and purge"!
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    SBR
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    Originally Posted by CatalysteMarketing
    I just moved my Chiropractic office client from page 3 of maps to #5 on the 1st page of the serps in the 7 pack. Google hasn't even picked up all the back end work I did on the account yet so I'm sure they will move up to #1 or 2 after all the data updates.

    I'm keeping a close eye on their Google Places stats, which show impressions, keywords and clickthroughs to see how the numbers change as they move up the list. I'll try to share some numbers after I get enough data to be meaningful.

    Unfortunately though no way to track phone calls. And if I sold the practice as well as I think I did in their profile, then patients will just call right from Google instead of clicking through to the site. So no real good way to get hard numbers.

    Maybe if I get time I'll post a case study about this case. It was pretty complicated because they had a fractured listing with 3 Google accounts all in different practice names that had to be merged and purged in Google and throughout all the data centers on the web.

    So anyway it would make a good case study, IF I ever get time. I'll share what I can in the meantime though.

    CatalysteMarketing,
    Can you comment on the time frames for the merging of the data and the time it took for the current updates that you are seeing to be published?
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  23. Dancin with the devil
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    SBR, we did the same thing, removed an old listing and replaced it with an optimized listing. The old listing had reviews from several sites and several other citations under user data. After disabling the old listing and obtaining a review or 2 for the newly optimized listing, it took around 3 weeks or so for all the user data to transfer from the old to new.
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    SBR
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    Originally Posted by PhilipSEO
    One should never forget about backlinks. I think the true answer is here.
    Did some additional research on this and the Wife of the owner of this company is on Real HouseWives of NewYork City tv show. She has link's from all sorts of really good places. Wikipedia, NewYork City mayor etc etc.

    Perhaps I need a better case study term to start with.

    Thoughts?
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    Question without website - Backlinks


    Hello ,

    i want my business top in Google places but i won't have website

    Is it possible to maintain first place with out backlinks , because if we need backlinks means we want website

    is it possible ?
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    Local Optimization


    Optimization is the main process to give a better ranking in google in that
    case if you have good backlinks on relevant authority with good domain
    authority of page site than it can very much help to you for ranking of the
    site.

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