Late last week, in a move that was apparently. Spurred by threats of an ftc investigation, google removed third-party reviews. And listings from their places pages in the local/maps results. This change was intended to help thwart complaints by sources like yelp, tripadvisor and citysearch. Who claimed that google unfairly used their content. To make the places pages results useful without compensation or traffic.
Google removes citations from local/places pages
Impact on local/maps/places seo
Unfortunately, this move has a strong negative consequence for seos, web marketers and local businesses trying to improve their rankings (or earn a listing) in google places results. In particular, the popular tactic of researching the citation sources of competitors and fellow business listees in a city/region via their places pages is now defunct.
Since citations are like links for seo/rankings in google places, this change is going to be tough on many citation researchers and local optimizers.
Other options for local citation discovery
Thankfully, there are other ways to find the sources google may be using to resource their places data.
This is as basic as it sounds. Just perform a USA Business Fax List query and seek out the aggregators – those that rank in the top few pages of results that list multiple local businesses. Not only is this a useful activity for places seo, it can also help drive direct traffic and brand awareness (e.G. Getting a listing on yelp isn’t just good for google seo, it’s a great idea because lots of people use yelp to find local businesses).
Aggregators of local business results in google
In the screenshot above, I’ve pointed to several well-known aggregators that are likely good sources for a listing/citation if a business is targeting seattle ice cream results.
perform competitive research using google’s standard results
You don’t need the citations listed in the Email Lists places pages to find where a business is earning listings/links/references. You can use good, old, regular google results:
Molly moon’s competitive analysis
This also works with any combination of address, business name, cityname, etc. It’s likely the most simple and direct way to replace the old competitive citation analysis method.