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New data appearing in Google maps/local business listings

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swirt

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For a while now Google has been merging map and business listings with reviews from review websites like TripAdvisor and BedandBreakfast.com. The number of reviews does have an influence on where you appear in the local search (one of several factors). Google has now added its own method of submitting reviews (similar to what Yahoo maps has had for a while). It is unclear to me at this point whether a google review carries more or less weight than a TripAdvisor or bandb.com review in terms of influencing where you appear in a local/map search. Here is the Google Review submission form that now appears as part of all business listings within Google Maps

Recently another new bit of data is being merged into this. "User Content" is what Google seems to be calling data that people with map accounts contribute when they make a custom map to display points of interest. So far where I see this appearing is in the form of people planning weddings are creating custom google maps to list places to stay or things to do. Here is a sample listing from someone's custom wedding map.

If they add you to a map, then Google takes note, and adds it into a section within your listing called "User Data". It is too soon at the moment to know whether the amount of user data listings (the number of people who use your B&B as a pushpin in their map) will have an impact on where you show up in a search. My bet is that it certainly could play a role since it follows with Google's notion that each link to your site (from a reputable site) is a vote for your site. Likewise each pushpin using your B&B could seen as a vote for your B&B. It could be prone to manipulation though, so it may not be weighted that heavily.
This is why it is important to make sure that you have verified your Google business listing and have done what you can to make sure your website and other listings in directories support good health in Google Maps.
 

Morticia

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Anyone know WHY they put the older reviews first? I hate seeing one from 2 years ago! Is it the # of "Yes this review was helpful" clicks they got? I am wondering if this is why?
I knwo they are all mixed up on there. Which is fine, but old old ones are not that great as the start of them.
 

swirt

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
 

swirt

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Anyone know WHY they put the older reviews first? I hate seeing one from 2 years ago! Is it the # of "Yes this review was helpful" clicks they got? I am wondering if this is why?
I knwo they are all mixed up on there. Which is fine, but old old ones are not that great as the start of them..
Not certain .... yet another thing I need to investigate further. Google has been tweaking maps/local listings for a long time and they continue to do live testing trying to determine what users actually like / use.
 

Morticia

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
Bree said:
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
Does google utilize the local GIS info provided by each town/county? If so, then that might be where to look. You should be able to find that on your county/town GIS website.
 

swirt

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
 

swirt

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
Bree said:
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
Does google utilize the local GIS info provided by each town/county? If so, then that might be where to look. You should be able to find that on your county/town GIS website.
.
Yes, my understanding is that Google aggregates the data from local GIS. Or probably more specifically that some other group (profit, non-profit, or govt, I'm not sure) aggregates the data and google then uses that data.
 

Morticia

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
.
swirt said:
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
Well, in that case, the list of B&B's is REALLY off if geo location plays a big part. Where it plopped the pin is right in the front yard of a B&B and they are not even close to the top of the list.
 

swirt

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
.
swirt said:
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
Well, in that case, the list of B&B's is REALLY off if geo location plays a big part. Where it plopped the pin is right in the front yard of a B&B and they are not even close to the top of the list.
.
Well imagine even in a crude algorithm if each of those factors were given a 10 point scale. Scoring 10 for any single item would not be enough to get you to the top. A zero or two on any of them can be bad. A business with 5's for each could easily end up at the top of the list. It always comes down to getting as many ducks in a row as possible. Some ducks you can control, some you can't, so it pays to attend to the ones you can.
I am sure the algorithm is more complicated than just putting each element on a 10 point scale, but that is the basic idea.
 

Morticia

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
.
swirt said:
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
Well, in that case, the list of B&B's is REALLY off if geo location plays a big part. Where it plopped the pin is right in the front yard of a B&B and they are not even close to the top of the list.
.
Well imagine even in a crude algorithm if each of those factors were given a 10 point scale. Scoring 10 for any single item would not be enough to get you to the top. A zero or two on any of them can be bad. A business with 5's for each could easily end up at the top of the list. It always comes down to getting as many ducks in a row as possible. Some ducks you can control, some you can't, so it pays to attend to the ones you can.
I am sure the algorithm is more complicated than just putting each element on a 10 point scale, but that is the basic idea.
.
Ok, (and I'm not arguing, just trying to understand) the inn they plopped the pin in is about 10 feet from the inn ranked #1 on TA. So, THAT inn has a solid, years' long #1 spot on TA, they are 10 feet from the center of town, they show up EVERYWHERE I look in obscure directories and they are still not pinned as #1. Maybe they redid the website and lost ground like I did by changing the page names.
Now I DO know the #1 inn does adwords. Would that affect the positioning?
 

swirt

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
.
swirt said:
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
Well, in that case, the list of B&B's is REALLY off if geo location plays a big part. Where it plopped the pin is right in the front yard of a B&B and they are not even close to the top of the list.
.
Well imagine even in a crude algorithm if each of those factors were given a 10 point scale. Scoring 10 for any single item would not be enough to get you to the top. A zero or two on any of them can be bad. A business with 5's for each could easily end up at the top of the list. It always comes down to getting as many ducks in a row as possible. Some ducks you can control, some you can't, so it pays to attend to the ones you can.
I am sure the algorithm is more complicated than just putting each element on a 10 point scale, but that is the basic idea.
.
Ok, (and I'm not arguing, just trying to understand) the inn they plopped the pin in is about 10 feet from the inn ranked #1 on TA. So, THAT inn has a solid, years' long #1 spot on TA, they are 10 feet from the center of town, they show up EVERYWHERE I look in obscure directories and they are still not pinned as #1. Maybe they redid the website and lost ground like I did by changing the page names.
Now I DO know the #1 inn does adwords. Would that affect the positioning?
.
Google reps state emphatically that Adwords is completely separate from search. And there is good reason to believe that.
The results you are we talking about. Are you refering to specifically on maps.google.com or is this the map listings within normal search. Lots of times those are different ... and I don't have a good explanation of why. :(
 

Morticia

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
.
swirt said:
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
Well, in that case, the list of B&B's is REALLY off if geo location plays a big part. Where it plopped the pin is right in the front yard of a B&B and they are not even close to the top of the list.
.
Well imagine even in a crude algorithm if each of those factors were given a 10 point scale. Scoring 10 for any single item would not be enough to get you to the top. A zero or two on any of them can be bad. A business with 5's for each could easily end up at the top of the list. It always comes down to getting as many ducks in a row as possible. Some ducks you can control, some you can't, so it pays to attend to the ones you can.
I am sure the algorithm is more complicated than just putting each element on a 10 point scale, but that is the basic idea.
.
Ok, (and I'm not arguing, just trying to understand) the inn they plopped the pin in is about 10 feet from the inn ranked #1 on TA. So, THAT inn has a solid, years' long #1 spot on TA, they are 10 feet from the center of town, they show up EVERYWHERE I look in obscure directories and they are still not pinned as #1. Maybe they redid the website and lost ground like I did by changing the page names.
Now I DO know the #1 inn does adwords. Would that affect the positioning?
.
Google reps state emphatically that Adwords is completely separate from search. And there is good reason to believe that.
The results you are we talking about. Are you refering to specifically on maps.google.com or is this the map listings within normal search. Lots of times those are different ... and I don't have a good explanation of why. :(
.
swirt said:
Google reps state emphatically that Adwords is completely separate from search. And there is good reason to believe that.
The results you are we talking about. Are you refering to specifically on maps.google.com or is this the map listings within normal search. Lots of times those are different ... and I don't have a good explanation of why. :(
maps.google because that is where the local business listings are. And maps. google is what comes up if I just put in the town name without specifying I want a particular type of business. So, for me, it's always maps.google if I do a search.
 

briarrosebb

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
.
swirt said:
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
Well, in that case, the list of B&B's is REALLY off if geo location plays a big part. Where it plopped the pin is right in the front yard of a B&B and they are not even close to the top of the list.
.
Well imagine even in a crude algorithm if each of those factors were given a 10 point scale. Scoring 10 for any single item would not be enough to get you to the top. A zero or two on any of them can be bad. A business with 5's for each could easily end up at the top of the list. It always comes down to getting as many ducks in a row as possible. Some ducks you can control, some you can't, so it pays to attend to the ones you can.
I am sure the algorithm is more complicated than just putting each element on a 10 point scale, but that is the basic idea.
.
steve,
adwords drives up your inbound links and that's a factor in SEO. The links are low-quality but google reports on both high-quality and low-quality inbound links so I think they probably use the count of low-quality links, too.
 

swirt

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
.
swirt said:
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
Well, in that case, the list of B&B's is REALLY off if geo location plays a big part. Where it plopped the pin is right in the front yard of a B&B and they are not even close to the top of the list.
.
Well imagine even in a crude algorithm if each of those factors were given a 10 point scale. Scoring 10 for any single item would not be enough to get you to the top. A zero or two on any of them can be bad. A business with 5's for each could easily end up at the top of the list. It always comes down to getting as many ducks in a row as possible. Some ducks you can control, some you can't, so it pays to attend to the ones you can.
I am sure the algorithm is more complicated than just putting each element on a 10 point scale, but that is the basic idea.
.
steve,
adwords drives up your inbound links and that's a factor in SEO. The links are low-quality but google reports on both high-quality and low-quality inbound links so I think they probably use the count of low-quality links, too.
.
Hi Brendan, I'm afraid you've run across a misconception here. They do not count toward inbound links. They do not contribute to SEO. Google has many rants on not passing pagerank through paid links. They'd be in bad shape if they allowed their own paid links to pass link-juice. Google Adwords ads are displayed using Javascript that neither Google nor any of the other search engines that have a link-juice-like component read them or interpret them as followable links. If you look at the link provided on a google ad, you'll notivce that it is not a direct link to the advertiser, it goes to Google first which then redirects from there to the advertiser. It would be to all our detrimient if Google, Yahoo or MSN interepreted adwords ads as incoming links.
 

briarrosebb

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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
.
swirt said:
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
Well, in that case, the list of B&B's is REALLY off if geo location plays a big part. Where it plopped the pin is right in the front yard of a B&B and they are not even close to the top of the list.
.
Well imagine even in a crude algorithm if each of those factors were given a 10 point scale. Scoring 10 for any single item would not be enough to get you to the top. A zero or two on any of them can be bad. A business with 5's for each could easily end up at the top of the list. It always comes down to getting as many ducks in a row as possible. Some ducks you can control, some you can't, so it pays to attend to the ones you can.
I am sure the algorithm is more complicated than just putting each element on a 10 point scale, but that is the basic idea.
.
steve,
adwords drives up your inbound links and that's a factor in SEO. The links are low-quality but google reports on both high-quality and low-quality inbound links so I think they probably use the count of low-quality links, too.
.
Hi Brendan, I'm afraid you've run across a misconception here. They do not count toward inbound links. They do not contribute to SEO. Google has many rants on not passing pagerank through paid links. They'd be in bad shape if they allowed their own paid links to pass link-juice. Google Adwords ads are displayed using Javascript that neither Google nor any of the other search engines that have a link-juice-like component read them or interpret them as followable links. If you look at the link provided on a google ad, you'll notivce that it is not a direct link to the advertiser, it goes to Google first which then redirects from there to the advertiser. It would be to all our detrimient if Google, Yahoo or MSN interepreted adwords ads as incoming links.
.
Steve,
I can't tell you exactly why this is, but I'll show you one example of google PPC causing an inbound link. (I've seen it a lot before).
This is inbound links for one of our competitors:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft:*:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7SUNA&q=link:+www.thebradleyboulder.com&start=30&sa=N
The "Boulder Junction Motor Lodge Review" link which is about result 31 points to this link:
http://216.10.112.67/hotels/Boulder_Junction_Motor_Lodge/r376177
Now, the adwords on this page are live so you may not see the Bradley Boulder ad. But you can see in the google caption the direct reference to "sponsored links" and the Bradley in particular.
Is that persuasive?
 

swirt

Forum founder. Former Owner.
Joined
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I would have to say that the number of reviews doesn't seem to be driving the placement on the map. I base that on my town alone. Altho, Google does not seem to recognize the number of reviews I have and always puts 4 year old reviews first. So, there is more going on here, as you said..
There are a number of things that figure into placement on Google maps/local results, in addition to the amount/rating of reviews (it also depends on whether you are seeing the map results in google.com or on maps.google.com
Confirmed:
  • Location to geographic center of town
  • Popularity of website based on incoming link quantity / pagerank
  • Presence of search term in actual business name
  • category(s) your business is listed under
  • corroborating evidence (other sites consistently or inconsistently listing your address)
  • listing verified by business owner
Suspected
  • Userdata directly (use of your push-pin on other people's maps)
  • reviews contributed directly to google
  • history of your business (years that google has been aware of its existence)
.
How would I determine what Google thinks is the 'center of town'? My guess is when I just put in my zip code, it tells me where to start driving from so I am guessing THAT is where it thinks the center of town is.
.
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
.
swirt said:
You can't do it by zipcode as the regions for a zip are sometimes different than town boundaries. Just put in the name of your town, state and it should put a marker on the map. That is what I believe it uses as the "geographic" center of town.
Well, in that case, the list of B&B's is REALLY off if geo location plays a big part. Where it plopped the pin is right in the front yard of a B&B and they are not even close to the top of the list.
.
Well imagine even in a crude algorithm if each of those factors were given a 10 point scale. Scoring 10 for any single item would not be enough to get you to the top. A zero or two on any of them can be bad. A business with 5's for each could easily end up at the top of the list. It always comes down to getting as many ducks in a row as possible. Some ducks you can control, some you can't, so it pays to attend to the ones you can.
I am sure the algorithm is more complicated than just putting each element on a 10 point scale, but that is the basic idea.
.
steve,
adwords drives up your inbound links and that's a factor in SEO. The links are low-quality but google reports on both high-quality and low-quality inbound links so I think they probably use the count of low-quality links, too.
.
Hi Brendan, I'm afraid you've run across a misconception here. They do not count toward inbound links. They do not contribute to SEO. Google has many rants on not passing pagerank through paid links. They'd be in bad shape if they allowed their own paid links to pass link-juice. Google Adwords ads are displayed using Javascript that neither Google nor any of the other search engines that have a link-juice-like component read them or interpret them as followable links. If you look at the link provided on a google ad, you'll notivce that it is not a direct link to the advertiser, it goes to Google first which then redirects from there to the advertiser. It would be to all our detrimient if Google, Yahoo or MSN interepreted adwords ads as incoming links.
.
Steve,
I can't tell you exactly why this is, but I'll show you one example of google PPC causing an inbound link. (I've seen it a lot before).
This is inbound links for one of our competitors:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft:*:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7SUNA&q=link:+www.thebradleyboulder.com&start=30&sa=N
The "Boulder Junction Motor Lodge Review" link which is about result 31 points to this link:
http://216.10.112.67/hotels/Boulder_Junction_Motor_Lodge/r376177
Now, the adwords on this page are live so you may not see the Bradley Boulder ad. But you can see in the google caption the direct reference to "sponsored links" and the Bradley in particular.
Is that persuasive?
.
The ad link showing up in your link: search is not an indication that it transfers any link-juice. In fact it is not tracking the link at all. You have a problem with your use of the link: command. If you type "link: www.mydomain,com" (notice the space between the colon and the domain) then all of results returned are pages that have the word "link" and the url on the page, but not necessarily a link. if you type "link:www.mydomain.com" then you get some (roughly 10%) of the sites that link to your site. This ad link shows up in your search only because your domain name is used in the ad, not because there is an href link in it.
The link in the ad points to http://www.google com/aclk?sa=l&ai=BCl_35NKNSJW8AYrqigHKxcWwBJaiphrayuq7CcHFwgWw4y0QDBgMIN3LqAYoDjAAOAFQ-P2EHmDJ_s2N_KSIFqABnrik_gPIAQGAAgHZA7AlNv6vdoHI4AMA&num=12&sig=AGiWqtyPMovqQ9P1DigxqRt7DUbzLqQItg&q=http://www.briarrosebb.com/%3Fsrc%3Dgoogppc which then does a 302 (rather than a 301) redirect to your site. The link is generated in javascript which rules most other search engines out, AND even if followed is not a direct link and it is not an appropriate redirect. (barrier, barrier, barrier)
There are just way too many reasons why Google would never do this. Here are only a few:
  1. It is expressly against Google's terms of service to sell links that pass pagerank. They have penalized sites for this. They would catch a huge amount of flack for doing the same.
  2. If Adwords influenced positions in the organic search then you would see huge fluctuations in the rankings as different companies' ad campaigns kicked in and out of effect. Google's goal for organic search is to have the best results possible. They'd be in trouble if they were in effect pissing in their own pool.
  3. It would be counter productive for Google to allow paid links to influence natural search becasue people would pay for ads, then rise in the organic, which would cause them to abandon/decrease PPC campaigns which would create a huge yo-yo effect and Google would see a decrease in ad revenue.
  4. There are people that watch this kind of thing even more closely than I do and if there were a connection between Adwords and Organic, they would have blown the whistle on this much more loudly than you are.
Sorry, but you can purchase as much Adwords ppc as you can afford, but it will not influence your position in the organic results one bit.
 

YellowSocks

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Sorry... chiming in late as I've been busy.
As far as "new data" I've just noticed that there are now pictures available (sometimes) on Google Maps. And for a B&B that I'm looking about staying at in September, Google Street View is available (although I don't see the B&B when I do the view). They don't have it yet for my town, but I'm hoping that when they do the picture taking, it will show my sign in the front yard.
The inn that is pinned "A" in my town is technically out of town a couple of miles, and has fewer reviews than me. But they've been in business 13 years and certainly deserve the high ranking. I do outrank the "C" inn... they are closer to the center of town, and have been in business longer, but have fewer reviews than me, as well as other factors.
=)
Kk.
 

swirt

Forum founder. Former Owner.
Joined
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Messages
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Sorry... chiming in late as I've been busy.
As far as "new data" I've just noticed that there are now pictures available (sometimes) on Google Maps. And for a B&B that I'm looking about staying at in September, Google Street View is available (although I don't see the B&B when I do the view). They don't have it yet for my town, but I'm hoping that when they do the picture taking, it will show my sign in the front yard.
The inn that is pinned "A" in my town is technically out of town a couple of miles, and has fewer reviews than me. But they've been in business 13 years and certainly deserve the high ranking. I do outrank the "C" inn... they are closer to the center of town, and have been in business longer, but have fewer reviews than me, as well as other factors.
=)
Kk..
Street view can be pretty cool, but it is kind of creepy when you realize you can turn your view and look in windows. Not present in our area here yet, but I have seen it for other inns.
 
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