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Local / Maps - How Important?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 PatrickGer

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 05:24 PM

A friend of mine has a local business and cant get it to rank in maps. However he says his traffic has basically stayed the same over the past few years. Am wondering if it's worth to make a hardcore effort to get a maps ranking as this seems to imply that people are still using the regular SERPs.

Does traffic from maps/local cut heavily into regular serps traffic? Or is a maps ranking more of a strategic thing, as it is expected that this will be big...?

Or does it depend a ton on the industry?

#2 Scottie

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 06:55 PM

I get map results quite often when searching for local results- if I had a local business I would make the effort to be listed in maps/local.

#3 Jill

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:08 PM

You can certainly make a hardcore effort to do so, but there are no hard and fast rules as to what will make it happen.

Definitely claim your Google Places Page, and definitely add categories and a good description, as well as enhance your page with images and video.

Those will be a good first start.

#4 qwerty

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 09:02 PM

And get the company listed on all the sites that feed into Google Local. In the US, that's Yelp, SuperPages, and many, many others.

#5 MauriceWalshe

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:14 AM

QUOTE(Scottie @ Jul 14 2010, 12:55 AM) View Post
I get map results quite often when searching for local results if I had a local business I would make the effort to be listed in maps/local.


If your address is near to the centre of the location/town/city this seems to help. When the partner of my pervious MD changed the address of her driving school from an address near the centre of the town to a village 2 miles outside of the town she lost position on the 10 Block.

#6 qwerty

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:46 AM

I understand a lot of people are setting up Places pages with fake addresses in order to grab that little advantage. Note that "maps" is "spam" spelled backwards.

#7 PatrickGer

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:07 PM

Thanks for the help!

I think I might not have expressed my question properly..what I was wondering is the following:

the guy I know has had a #3 listing in the normal SERPs for his main keyword. He's been there for ..years, now.

When he does a search, now (or me for that matter) the google SERPs are covered with a fat MAP and multiple local/map listings. He is *not* included in them.

However he says his traffic levels (including for that keyword) have remained pretty constant over the years (and he does understand how to look at analytics/track his number of sales). Apparently the fact that there's a big fat google map with map listings all over the monitor of potential customers/searchers..and him not being included in those...has not hurt his traffic levels. This seems like the vast majority of searchers (at least in this niche) pretty much ignore google's map/local listings...and just scroll down to the "regular SERPs" to click on those.

Apparently searchers in this niche dont really care about google's big map and local rankings and just use the old ones (even if they're below the fold). the products he sells cost 500$ or so...maybe that's the reason?

Basically I thought that if a map with local listings is all over the monitor most users should already be clicking on those listings. But in this industry, that just doesnt seem to be the case.

How have local/map listings (if theyre displayed for a local search kind of keyword) changed click-through rates in the SERPs? If they see a map/local listing - do most people actually use it? Or is it largely ignored and everybody just scrolls down to the old school google SERPs (even if below the fold)?



Here's an interesting (hopefully lol) thought on my behalf:

I remember a similar c onversation about tihs topic a while ago, where two people were big on the idea of having others (on the forum) create fake reviews for them.

I thought this might not have been a good idea, considering the business was a regional US business and the people who would have given the fake reviews were located in 2 different european countries ;-). I assume google can/does/might be able to track if the reviews are coming from within the same region that other sites get their reviews based on the location of the IP address, right? Having reviews from the UK and Germany might not be a good idea if other sites only have reviews from a certain region in the US...I think...



#8 qwerty

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:34 PM

Does the search for which the site is ranking well in the regular results include the name of a locality, or is it one of those searches that Google assumes the user wants local results for? For example, if I search for [pizza] I'm going to get local results (although it looks like some of the big national brands are showing up before the local results today).

I'd also be interested in knowing if the people hitting your friend's site and ignoring the local results (or maybe checking the local results, and finding them unsatisfactory, working their way down the SERP) are in his area. In other words, I might run a search and get the local results, but if I don't require that the company I contact actually be local, I may skip the local stuff and just go to the regular results.

In any case, I think the advice for working on getting the Places page to rank in the local listings stands, at least on my part. It may not be worthwhile to invest a lot of time and money into it if they're getting plenty of traffic without it, but it's not something I'd recommend passing up.

#9 PatrickGer

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 05:31 AM

Yes, that search does include the location. And it also is something for which the vendor does need to be in the region.

I was surprised myself :-).

I assume this is not a common pattern, and in most similar searches..if a map is displayed, the regular old-school results do get much less traffic because the local listings are getting many?

(guess Ill have to have a look at it...he is knowledgeable enough about SEO+analytics to understand this stuff (and of course his sales figures which he says have remained constant over the years), but it still seems strange..)

#10 Jill

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 08:48 AM

I've noticed for one of my clients sites that they seem to get more traffic from keywords where there is no map on the SERPs page.

They rank highly for thousands of phrases, but when I do some spot checks based on what I see in analytics for some keywords where I would suspect there'd be more traffic, I often see that those queries have the map with my client's listing just below the map.

So in this case (and this is very unscientific, just my observations) I think the map thing can hurt traffic.

#11 PatrickGer

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 05:54 PM

Interesting you put it this way ("the map thing can hurt traffic").

Personally (just me jumping to conclusions hehe), I was thinking that...this map thing covering almost the whole screen with basically nothing but map listings above the fold...

...the majority of traffic might come from the map listings, and that people ranking #1 in the "normal" SERPs, but not being able to get a map listing (for some reason e.g. postal address), might be totally screwed.

But considering the way you put it that seems to not really be the case...meaning the map does take away traffic from the normal SERPs, but the normal SERPs still receive traffic just fine even if there's a big fat map with map listings, and the normal SERPs are pushed way down?

Not sure how to explain my point, but in my mind I was a bit scared that it might look like this for many local terms with map listings displayed:
- traffic: 10% normal SERPs, 90% map listings
...
but in reality it's more like this:
- traffic: 50-70% normal SERPs, 30-50% map listings

Of course this isnt very scientific, either hehe..but you get the idea - maps being all over the local SERPs haven't really killed the importance/usefulness of a regular SERPs listing even if its way lower on the screen (maybe even below the fold), right?




QUOTE(Jill @ Jul 15 2010, 03:48 PM) View Post
I've noticed for one of my clients sites that they seem to get more traffic from keywords where there is no map on the SERPs page.

They rank highly for thousands of phrases, but when I do some spot checks based on what I see in analytics for some keywords where I would suspect there'd be more traffic, I often see that those queries have the map with my client's listing just below the map.

So in this case (and this is very unscientific, just my observations) I think the map thing can hurt traffic.



#12 Jill

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 05:56 PM

QUOTE
But considering the way you put it that seems to not really be the case...meaning the map does take away traffic from the normal SERPs, but the normal SERPs still receive traffic just fine even if there's a big fat map with map listings, and the normal SERPs are pushed way down?


No, I was saying the opposite.



#13 PatrickGer

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:29 PM

So you were saying most people seem to go with the map listings (if there's a big fat map all over the SERPs), rather than scrolling down and clicking on the old school SERPs?

(sorry about the misunderstanding if it waso ne)

#14 Jill

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 09:30 PM

I can't make that broad of an assumption based on one client and a few keywords, but that is what it looked liked with my particular situation.

#15 PatrickGer

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 02:16 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jul 16 2010, 04:30 AM) View Post
I can't make that broad of an assumption based on one client and a few keywords, but that is what it looked liked with my particular situation.


Ah yes I see, but anecdotal evidence (I mean as in evidence with a limited sample size of 1 lol) is still better than none. Now, I just need to collect more of it and I'll know some time hehe.

I find it very interesting that my friend basically made the opposite observation in his niche, though. Still need to dig deeper (will do when I access his analytics data ina few days), but this could mean it depends a lot on the niche..





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