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Critical Change to Google Places Addresses

Google Places Address OptimizationThere is a lot of chatter around the internet regarding Google Places and the proper use of the various address settings. Failure to understand their new policies could result in your listing vanishing. You can find lots of opinion and discussion about this topic on the internet. However, in my opinion, the best place to go for an explanation of the guidelines is Google Places Quality Guidelines page. So what's the big deal? In a nutshell, Google is constantly trying to improve the search results that it serves up when you conduct a search. They are constantly battling "spam listings" or fraudulent listings that have been created by businesses who attempt to game the Google algorithm by using false addresses. These "spammers" do so in an effort to outrank competitors who are physically located in areas that would make them a better choice for users who are trying locate businesses offering the products or services they seek. What has changed? I cannot provide a specific date and time when things started to change, but it seems that lately changes are definitely occurring. One day you could have a highly ranked Business Place page, and the next day it could vanish or simply drop so far that for all intents and purposes they are invisible. You see, Google has a certain philosophy when it comes to addresses. Their are certain businesses that operate out of a home, but never have customers visit their physical location. In this case Google wants you to hide your address and instead select your service areas. There are other scenarios such as a business who has a bricks and mortar location where all of their business is transacted, and other businesses who have rank well with a P.O. Box. The bottomline is that Google's effort to improve the quality of the user experience is increasingly effecting places accounts who have not read their guidelines and adjusted their listings to comply. What to do? When it comes to Google there is one thing you can count on. Things are always changing! They make a change and then spammers figure out a way to game the system. Then Google changes the algorithm to address the spammers and the cycle continues. As a business you need to check your listing frequently, and if you sense that your listing has been impacted by some change then you need to search for guideline changes and take the steps they recommend. The key is to understand what Google's logic is, then act accordingly. The good news is that in most cases legitimate businesses who are truly trying to play by the rules are less effected. Nonetheless it is not uncommon for legitimate businesses to get negatively impacted even thought the never intended to do anything sneaky. To learn more about local search strategies, SEO, PPC and everything else you need to succeed in online marketing subscribe to our blog or call us!

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