Here’s my recap on some of the local news that I have bookmarked during October and thought “Hmm that’s quite interesting”.

major ranking drops – Places gets an algorithm update!

Creative Commons License photo credit: ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser

It would appear that an update on the places algorithm has had a somewhat disastrous effect for local map listings and ranking thanks to Google’s new tweaks. Basically, Google has tightened the proximity of  listings so that if your places location falls outside of this (even if it’s still quite central) your rankings are going to hurt! The new update has been named the ‘proximity lock out algo’ which seems quite doomsday. While it’s still early in the game, the consensus appears to be that you can’t optimise yourself out of this situation (citations, reviews and general strong organic rankings don’t appear to have any influence – boo).

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ultimate list of local citation sites

Here’s a nice list of local citation sites that you may find helpful for improving your listings. It would appear that a lot of these sites are quite focused on the American market, but I still think it’s worth a quick mention.

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users automatically updating your Google Places

Creative Commons License photo credit: Benson Kua

Quite worryingly Google has now taken a brash move to allow users to update places information like working hours, addresses and names! While this concept is about making listings more ‘real time’ reflective, it also has a worrying potential for negative manipulation.  Business owners will be notified of any changes which is good, but this doesn’t really help when you need to sit down for a hour changing all your places information back because of some overzealous competitor.  But then again, people aren’t that manipulative…

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Adwords location makeover

If you’re an Adwords advertiser you may have noticed that the location targeting settings have changed! Google has utilised maps with location targeting to provide a more comprehensive overview of your targeting opportunities. The notable advantages are easily discoverable locations, more details on location i.e. reach, and a massive increase in location targeting (300-10,000 selected locations).  So, let’s get targeting…

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justice for Places manipulation – if you threaten Google with legal action

Creative Commons License photo credit: Helga Weber

I thought this is an interesting piece about the implications of places manipulation (especially when thinking about automatic updates) and how unprepared Google appear in light of potential defamation for local businesses. I thought it was interesting how Google advised that they provide a free, open system for claiming listings…oh, and for calling other people paedophiles.

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Thanks for taking the time to read this post – if you feel there’s anything I’ve missed, drop me a quick comment and link and I’ll update the post (with acknowledgement for your hawk eye of course!).

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