OK this is big: we've been bitching about Google Places for long enough so we have to be happy with a change I suppose! It's been announced that Google Places are being completely replaced by Google+ Local pages, effectively combining the local business aspects of Places with the peer-review and social trust supposedly associated with Google+ profiles and pages. It's clear that local and social really can't be viewed in isolation any more. Local ties in with social, which ties in with SEO, which ties in with content marketing, which ties in with social – in the near future great Google rankings are only going to be achieved by those being great at all of them.
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You may have heard chat about recent changes to Google's search ranking algorithms, named Panda and Penguin. Over a three week period in April 2012 these major iteration updates or 'filters' to the algorithm have affected how certain links and sites are perceived, and has caused some sites to slip or even completely lose their positions in Google search engine results pages (SERPs). So what are they in simple terms? Google Panda For on-page factors and usability. Google Penguin Equivalent filter targeting offsite factors and links.
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