Miriam: You might find this interesting. I ran into the Google photographer, or I think it was the same guy who I ran into earlier in the week at lunch. He was arranging interior photos at a local coffee shop w/ the owner.
I engaged him and tried to get him interested in one of our smbs. Its not exactly retail but its not exactly not retail. The c (onversation was interesting. OTOH he had specific parameters from Google, but OTOH, I gathered local friends of his told him to shoot/consider our smb which is sort of cool.
Not sure if he'll shoot it or not. No matter. He started to educate me. I played dumb. I'm naturally good at that.
(Wit can confirm
He whipped out his mobile and pulled up our smb. He was showing me where the pics are going. He went to our places page to start to "explain it" and saw that we had entered stuff. I played dumb
(Its my strongest quality)
He told me he would check w/ google to see if the business was okay per their parameters.
So I'm thinking....what is the purpose of this big effort they are doing in select cities in the US and world wide. Its time consuming, its gotta be labor intensive with lots of photographers working lots of appropriate retail corridors in certain cities.
After all they could put that money and time into "customer service" in the smb forum for business owners. You and I would like that. Cripes they could save a life or help in an emergency for crying out loud let alone correct mistakes.
In any case they are going to load these pics into business places pages. They are adding places content. They are using quality photogs to do so and doing it for free for the smbs.
Places pages aren't indexed in google.com. In fact currently most seo's that handle smbs and the smbs that monitor this stuff seem to indicate that places pages don't get much traffic. Of course that could change dramatically as smart mobile spreads and spreads. I saw a recent stat that locally oriented type searches show up 45% more often in mobile searches than in pc searches. That seems to make intuitive sense.
Places pages will show more often in mobile alone.
But I'm thinking this is a round about way for google to interact w/ smb's get communciations going and ultimately get them into Adwords. After all, that is where the money is.
I suppose we'll see over time.
Meanwhile back to the experiments with how google is trying to show local....Mike Blumenthal continues to show updates on these experiments via his findings and those of commentators. Its an interesting development.
One last comment: Of the 2 places where I ran into the Google photographer neither local listing is claimed. Coincidence or not. Don't know at all, but 6 out of 7 businesses haven't claimed their listings so its not surprising.
Okay here is the REAL LAST COMMENT. I went back and searched in google for coffee shops in my suburban town again. (town name/ coffee shops).
In google maps the one across the street came up first. I know the owner, I'm pretty sure he hasn't spent money for LOCAL seo optimizing, either for maps or for organic.
In google.com; 7pac though, Starbucks came up first with my neighbor coming up 3rd. There are some "tricks" to optimizing for the 7 pac eh?
On the organic side, under the 7 pac the #1 ranking was a coffee shop that closed over a year ago w/ a blog post on the first page talking about closing day. My neighbor was 3rd.
Coffee shops are typically small and probably don't spend time or more importantly $ on the web for advertising and rankings. Just thought the rankings are interesting. From my perspective for that 7 pac I'd go w/ a tag for a discount and see if it works.
Edited by earlpearl, 21 August 2010 - 04:27 PM.