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Google Ditches Local Listings for SEOs and Designers
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As 2009 came to a close, Google managed to get SEOs riled up for one last controversial topic. For some time, SEOs and web designers have been noticing that Google has not been showing local listings in search results for queries related to their businesses – even location-specific ones.

Should SEOs and designers be worried about local listings?
Comment here.

Google Tailors Mobile Search Suggestions to Location
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Google has launched search suggestions based on geographical location for iPhone and Android devices. This is currently only available in the United States.

"Typing a query into the search box on a phone can often be slow and difficult," says Google’s Mobile Engineering Team. "For this reason, relevant search suggestions that match your intended query can meaningfully reduce the time and effort it takes to submit a search."

Google’s Place Pages Just Got More Useful
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Google has introduced some new features for its recently launched Place Pages for local businesses. Most notably, businesses can now instantly (close anyway) post data to their Place Pages from Google’s Local Business Center dashboard. If you log in, you can post updates, coupons, announcements, etc. that will go live in minutes.

Yahoo Aims For Better Local Business Results
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Yahoo’s got something to offer people who are tired of typing cities’ names and zip codes into search boxes.  Today, the company announced improved local business results that will allow users to find nearby places without first providing tons of details.

Verify Your Place Page in Google’s Local Search Results
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When you find a business on Google Maps and click "more info", you will be taken to that business’ "Place Page." These are the pages that Google introduced a while back that essentially gather content related to that particular business in one place. One might find photos, coupons, reviews, etc. on the Place Page.

Google Adds Place Pages to Google Earth

Google has started including Place Pages in Google Earth. Place Pages are the pages that Google sets up for places and businesses that have been accessible via Google Maps for a little while. They incorporate photos, videos, reviews and other content about that particular business or place, into one spot.

Google Comes to Brick and Mortar Store Windows
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In a recent article, we discussed ways the local search landscape is changing. Add another one to the list, because now Google is sending brick and mortar businesses decals to put on their windows, with barcodes that people can scan with their phones to bring up business listings on Google.

Critical Local Search Factors To Pay Attention To
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Local search is only one sliver of the search marketing game, but it is an increasingly important one, and one that is changing rapidly. These days people are going to the web to find local businesses, sometimes more than even the phone book. Having a presence in local search is imperative for any small business, but just as imperative is being able to compete for visibility.

Google Revamps Mobile Local Search Experience
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Google has launched a new version of local search for mobile. This version heavily utilizes Google Maps to make organization of results easier on your phone.

The new local search for mobile lets you find business listings on Google Maps while you’re on your computer, where you can "star" them. Once you star them, you can easily find your starred listings grouped together from your phone, making it easy to keep the listings you need while you’re out, together. This can potentially make errand running a lot easier, as demonstrated in the video below.

Google Now Identifying Businesses in Street View
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Google has now made it easier to view businesses in Street View on Google Maps. When a user conducts a local search, the bubble that pops up on business results will show a Street View link.

Users can click on that link and see the business marked with a 3D marker in Street View, just like the one you’d find on the map. When you click the marker, details about the business are shown right within Street View.

Businesses Can Submit Their Property to Google Street View
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Google introduced its Street View Partner Program today. This lets organizations and businesses apply to have their property featured in Street View on Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Maps for Mobile.

Multiple Search Feature Comes to Google Maps
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Google has added a new feature to Google Maps, which allows you to perform multiple searches, while keeping them around for future reference. It’s hard to explain without an example.

On the Google Lat Long Blog, to illustrate the feature, they give the example of a search for the Road to Hana on Maui. They search for this, but also search separately for supermarkets, gas stations, and driving directions to Hana, HI.

Are Local Businesses Trying Hard Enough with Paid Search?
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On Friday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau announced that the US had reached $5.5 billion in online ad revenue for the first quarter. This was down a bit from last year, but that’s not too bad considering the state of the economy. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find other ways to advertise your business that are as cost-effective.

Google Handles Local Searches Differently Than Before

WebProNews recently spoke with Search Engine Land Assignment Editor, and SmallBusinessSEM.com Blogger Matt McGee about local search and its impact on business owners. The local search game has changed over the years, and even more so within the last couple months. Do you think a Google search is the most important place to be found in local search? Share your thoughts.

Live Search Comes to MSN City Guides
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Microsoft has introduced a new version of MSN City Guides in a move the company calls "one step in a long term plan to help users stay in the know wherever they are."

The new MSN City Guides makes ample use of Live Search and Live Search Maps as well as video and social media. Users can share information through Windows Live and Facebook. Microsoft says this makes event organization easy.

Tons of Tips for Ranking in 5 Other Google Engines
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It’s not all about traffic. It’s about conversions. But it’s hard to get conversions if you don’t have the traffic, and while Google is one of the best potential sources for traffic, Google has other search engines besides web search that people use all the time, and it will not hurt to rank in them too.



Which engines besides web search do you see big traffic from? Comment.

Google Knows Where You Live
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Google’s changing it up, and local search optimization just became very, very important.

It used to be a searcher had to be very specific about a query to bring back local results. To borrow from Search Engine Guide’s Miriam Ellis, who tips us off to the changes in the usual Google “10 pack,” or the top ten search results, a search for “chiropractor” reveals just how geographically targeted Google’s results are now.

Mobile Local Search Advertising to Reach $1.3 Billion?
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Shortcovers on iPhoneThe number of people using mobile devices to get content is on the way up.

More Results Visualized on Google Maps
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When you search for local businesses on Google Maps, you will now see more than just ten results at a time plotted on the map. While the initial ten will still be plotted by pins and letters as before, you will see dots representing many more search results.

Cutts Confirms Google Toolbar PR Update
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A week or so ago, some people noticed some updates to Google Toolbar PageRank scores. It was unconfirmed however if this was an official update. Matt Cutts eventually confirmed on Twitter that it was indeed a Google update.

PubCon: Succeeding At Local And Mobile Search

For the moment, never mind the "world wide" aspect of the Web.  A whole lot of any business’s customers are likely to come from its home region, and so a PubCon session called "Local and Mobile" search took a look at ways in which companies can best serve these nearby individuals.

(Coverage of PubCon continues at WebProNews Videos.  Stay with WebProNews for continued coverage from the event this week.)