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Place Pages for Google Maps
Robert Charlton




msg:3995491
 8:21 am on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Place Pages for Google Maps [googleblog.blogspot.com]
Official Google Blog
9/24/2009

...Instead of doing the research all over the web, wouldn’t it be great to see all the information about one place in...one place?

Starting today, you can do that on Place Pages for Google Maps. A Place Page is a webpage for every place in the world, organizing all the relevant information about it. By every place, we really mean *every* place — there are Place Pages for businesses, points of interest, transit stations, neighborhoods, landmarks and cities all over the world.

The Place Pages are far more informative and attractive than the previous tabbed arrangement that Google Maps has been displaying when you clicked "more info".

A "webpage for every place in the world" is also an incredibly ambitious undertaking, and... as the Place Pages data is aggregated from elsewhere on the web and organized into well-structured documents from algorithmically chosen images, articles, reviews, and other information, the Place Pages of more popular places are likely to be justifiably considered threatening to many types of sites.

 

zett




msg:3995534
 10:11 am on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

as the Place Pages data is aggregated from elsewhere on the web and organized into well-structured documents from algorithmically chosen images, articles, reviews, and other information

It will be interesting to see how they actually implement this. Will they embed (hotlink?) images into the Place Pages? If randomly chosen, how will they ensure that they are on-topic?

the Place Pages of more popular places are likely to be justifiably considered threatening to many types of sites.

Absolutely.

I can already envision the Place Page grabbing unique content from our sites and displaying Google ads next to it. If the users can find what they are looking for at the Place Page, why visit the originating web site? Argh.

Webwork




msg:3995540
 10:31 am on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

A world in which an information or entertainment seeker never leaves a Google property.

Built by free labor.

Google's vision of the future?

And you fit where?

mifi601




msg:3995559
 11:02 am on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

We do not fit anywhere in there, except the 'free labour' part. This could be BIG.

nonanet




msg:3995567
 11:29 am on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Never leave a Google property" is already big with indexed KML files. The original content is displayed on Google maps, and there's a tiny link that leads back to the original site (and you need 3 or 4 mouse clicks to get there).

I wonder if they'll overdo it at some point, and face webmasters removing their content from Google. Not likely before their de-facto monopoly in traffic is broken, though.

I'm pretty much fed off by their recent moves already - but what's the alternative?

esllou




msg:3995580
 12:15 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

at what point will webmasters wake up? And by webmasters, I mean the webmaster community. Or will we just continue to fill the front page of this site, for example, with G stories and do their bidding for them?

Webwork




msg:3995585
 12:34 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

PlacePages = Wikipedia, with ads.

So much better . .

blend27




msg:3995604
 1:13 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

--A world in which an information or entertainment seeker never leaves.........--

is there another World?

whoisgregg




msg:3995613
 1:21 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

On a technical note, if you click the "Link" button on a place, you get a permalink like so:

http://maps.google.com/places/us/city/street/ZIP/-business-name

So, prepare for local clients to send you a link like this with questions and concerns.

chewy




msg:3995638
 1:50 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I remember looking at early versions of Google Maps and thinking - how nice it would be if, for building X, or geographic location Y, one could click on that and find what was going on at that site. And every building or street or object would have a hotlink.

And I remember describing my vision to a Googler and me thinking they were thinking I was quite a dreamer.

If x was a building, all the URL's of businesses in that area, and important real time stuff like about real estate availability, if y was a park or an island, some key information about goings on there, the history, the people managing it, maybe something about the biology or ecology etc.

Yes, very much like a wiki - and very interesting from an informational point of view - but also requiring a huge organization akin to a natural monopoly to set up and put in place, maintain, etc.

We may spend some part of the future busting - or trying to bust this monopoly, but then again there are natural monopolies that maybe should just be.

I can't wait to see what the big G has in store for us here (with the full monetization structure in place) - and playing with this already is a joy. How nice that the URL's actually work and their example:

[maps.google.com...]

...can be easily be back-breadcrumbed to see how this all works.

Fascinating - and on the positive side - how does a SE marketer add value / make money from this when Google (never mind FaceBook) is giving this all away for free?

[edited by: chewy at 1:50 pm (utc) on Sep. 25, 2009]

weeks




msg:3995639
 1:50 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Be sure you are up-to-date on this as well:
[google.com...]
It's just about everything and more 90 percent of businesses need on the web.

If you're making money just doing the tech side of the web for clients, you should be concerned. But, if you're providing marketing help and advice, all of this is to the good.

But, yes, if you're tracking your success on the web from just clicks, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. I do not think, however, there is any fighting it. Webmasters need to "wake up" and keep up with what is going on and adapt.

I keep tell you, this Internet thing--it's going to be big.

Leosghost




msg:3995650
 2:11 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I await eagerly someone telling us how google having their own page in all languages ( depending on where the viewer is ) with all the travel information ( maps , photos descriptions timetables and ads for resturants , hotels etc etc ) on every tiniest village and flyspeck on the maps is really going to be good for sites that live by helping visitors to choose their destination .. :)

And google images to show you how to walk out of your hotel to get to that riverside bar and what you'll see on the way ..

Hope the specialised travel and guide sites worldwide have a plan B

[edited by: tedster at 9:01 pm (utc) on Sep. 25, 2009]

Webwork




msg:3995676
 2:55 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Leo, "place" goes well beyond "geographic". Place encompasses "place of business" - as their example of a local bakery.

Yelp! Yelp! Yelp! . . goes Yelp . . to the dogs. Yelp whose little doggy feet and tails are being stepped on by GOOG, Inc. Yelp who relied upon Adsense - and provided gigabytes of data - proving the merits and profitability of "place reviews".

Who needs Yelp . . or better said who needs to share the PPC profits with Yelp . . when GOOG, Inc. can keep the business place reviews on a GOOG Inc property?

Next up: GoogleProducts. Do camera reviews? See ya!

GOOG, Inc. is well beyond its roll as leader in search and information discovery. It is now taking a dominant position as a media company and information consumer destination.

No more searching for information. Forget search. GOOG, Inc. will now host and be the source of information. No need to search. It's all "here".

Why share PPC revenue with the content network when you can source source content . . for free . . and embed ads . . without sharing revenue?

The irony of this is that WE funded our own demise, by feeding free content to GOOG, Inc., by paying for clicks to drive traffic, and by sharing income from clicks on our sites. It's like paying for your own extermination . . without also pre-paying for the fanfare of the fancy funeral. Pay for that yourself.

Here's your funeral dirge (music): "So long, so long, so long, so long . . and thanks for all the . . clicks."*

(*Reference: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Change "clicks" to "fish".)

Silvery




msg:3995693
 3:17 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Instead of doing the research all over the web, wouldn’t it be great to see all the information about one place in...one place?

It's great unless you were previously one of the big information providers for local, such as a yellow pages or business directory.

I believe this will further reduce referrals to those types of sites from Google, just as I identified reduced referrals beginning this year when Google displayed the 10-pack for more keyword searches, based on users' IP addresses.

Leosghost




msg:3995703
 3:32 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Leo, "place" goes well beyond "geographic". Place encompasses "place of business" - as their example of a local bakery.

:) point taken ( I need to think in English more during my first coffee :) ..( good thing that here at least.. legally ..like Switzerland ..someone cannot take photos of your house or business and use/reproduce them without your permission )..now just got to persuade our politicians of all sides and judges to make that stick ...

individually writing to G to opt out isnt necessary here ..but insufficient numbers of people realise that ..

And no one in govt had the smarts to throw the camera cars out when they came as they began with the "Tour de France" route in Brittany ( well a few complained it wasnt legal ..but were told to shut up by the others ..who though WOW google ..free publicity !) and most people including our legislature went weak at the knees and in the brain too at the "compliment" that they thought G were paying us ..

Flattery by outsiders to a sense of ones country being the center of the cultural universe ..Has oft led to our leaders letting the rest of us down ..

Guess we are just going to have to counter the G PR machine by pointing out the "mondialisation" and the loss of jobs to the tourist industry ( and to home grown media organistaions ) if G isnt told to back off and pull all their images of french ( in compliance with current french law ) "places" until they are "opt in" ..

Damn.. there is always something stops one from taking a rest ..

CodeJockey




msg:3995705
 3:39 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have to admit that the site for the blogger's favorite bakery impressed me. (Admittedly, I have an extremely low 'impression' line.)

Until I saw the posting in the Comments section for the dating site.

Just something else to spam, in my opinion.

jk3210




msg:3995711
 3:47 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think I'm going to start advocating Communism as the preferred alternative to Google.

madmatt69




msg:3995747
 4:24 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Why do I feel this is gonna kill off travel sites.

martinibuster




msg:3995749
 4:29 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

The Googler who wrote that blog post should be kicked in the pants simply for posting that Tartine is their favorite bakery. Tartine is a haven for trust fund yuppies, domestic divas, and slavish followers. That bakery takes away from the neighborhood, it adds nothing. Sort of the like Place Pages, actually... Monetizing the work of others is rude and abusive.

signor_john




msg:3995875
 8:21 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Why do I feel this is gonna kill off travel sites.

It might hurt the CitySearch-style sites. It certainly won't "kill off travel sites," though, any more than TripAdvisor and VirtualTourist have killed off Fodor's or Lonely Planet.

IMHO, the "Place pages" concept is interesting, but the sheer volume of unedited information is beginning to make structured, human-edited sites seem like peaceful refuges from user-generated data dumps. As a user, I don't mind digging through the unedited piles of verbiage and photos now and then (especially if the topic is obscure enough that I'm grateful to find anything at all on it in a Google search), but when I'm actively planning a trip, I'll go to a well-organized site that makes it easy to find and digest useful information--just as I'll go to one of the professional camera-review sites when I'm trying to decide between a Nikon, a Canon, a Sony, a Pentax, or an Olympus DSLR.

dstiles




msg:3995919
 9:48 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

What are the odds of webmasters rebelling and charging google per googlebot hit? Someone is ging to have to pay for all the lost revenue.

Ok, I know: no chance.

Unless some government (eg anti-google Europe) discovers their own sites are being ripped off.

Leosghost




msg:3995935
 10:38 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

It certainly won't "kill off travel sites," though, any more than TripAdvisor and VirtualTourist have killed off Fodor's or Lonely Planet.

Those sites you mentioned dont get the chance to put themselves above the fold in serps for any query that they like and therefore "they" have to compete against "human reviewed" ..

G put "maps" and therefore "places" at top of their serps for any place query that they have a map for ..

Donc .."peacefull refuge"s are not going to get seen as often ..( below the *fold or on page two or worse )and even less frequently clicked upon and visited ..( or start buying adwords ) ..waking up and smelling the coffee is easier to do if one takes ones head out of the sand or wherever :)

*slight aside but IMO nevertheless relevant ..I'm typing this using a newly purchased x203H ( our other 6 lcds here "home business" are "wide"..all 22" or 24" but not to the extreme of this 20" 1600x900-true 16x9 ..I use it to surf ..wouldn't want to do graphics on it though ( but I'm getting another 24" 16x9 to "dev" sites on )..however my point is that more and more joe and jane sixpacks are going to be buying this format to watch movies on their boxes or their TV's via their media centres especially when 7 rolls out to the "people" ..so the "fold" moves up ( G know this ..and I mentioned it in a foo thread about 4 years ago but no one thought wide screen monitors would influence site design ..average people dont like to scroll :))..the more the fold moves up ..the more G takes of the above the fold ..and the more you go below the fold and the less traffic you'll get ..and when they do see your site and click the more relevant to ROI that the part you want to be important ..is above the fold as seen from a wide or increasingly from an ultra wide screen ) ..disagree ? just look at the proportions of your TV as against your monitor ..and then take into account that most of the public with money ..are going to be surfing on screens that are 16:9 ..just like their TV :)*

caribguy




msg:3995954
 11:18 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Plan B will have to include a lot of local expert content that is not made available to the search engines... And keeping fingers crossed / putting efforts in place to grow alternate traffic sources.

Surprised and dismayed that they have already started making a headway into my (non-US) region. I guess the accurate street level maps introduced several months ago should have been a warning...

Leosghost




msg:3995963
 11:34 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Concurrent and highly relevant to this thread is another here [webmasterworld.com] ..at WebmasterWorld

commanderW




msg:3995981
 12:24 am on Sep 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just looked at example (Tartine Bakery). After calming down and considering the reality... I think this is great !

Early this year I put up a site which contains profiles of interesting places and businesses. One of the areas i covered is just blocks from this bakery (but doesn't include it). I went around and took pictures of many businesses on the outside, and of their products etc. inside. It was alot of work. I got discouraged because i was basically going around gathering and creating the content for a webpage for each business and doing all the work and content writing myself, for free. Yet I couldn't get many of the owners in their stores so I could have permission to take photos, or get them to send me any content of their own. Finally I sort of gave up and let this half-baked site sit, while I started another more better idea.

At first glance, this news item looks like Google is becoming the king cobra of scraper sites. Oh great, I thought, now all those hundreds of photos I wasted my free time taking, are going to turn up on the big G's 'places' page, while mine languishes (I've really been thinking seriously of taking it down). But after checking out the actual 'places' page, I am actually thinking of going back and following through on my original plan.

See, all the images link to the site where the original resides. It's not like Google Images where the original site is in a frame half below the fold, and there's a thumbnail link to the picture on top anyway. It's a thumb with a direct link to originating page. Same thing for review links, not a large excerpt from the review which makes it unnecessary to visit the originating page, but a short snippet which links to the real review! What G is doing here is really great stuff for webmasters who have done guides and travel sites, etc. It aggregates links to webpages with related content. Every link I clicked on took me directly to the originating site.

I think this is a plus for my site to show up in the searches. a very big plus. Maybe so big I might actually be able to use it as a selling point for the free service I was offering, and a way to parlay that into some actual income for all the trouble I have to take to walk around with a camera in the hot sun, from one place where the owners still not in to another.

If G uses my photos or any content I write, in the 'snippet' format that the example 'places' page is using, then it's really a gussied up results page which actually provides a new and more targeted venue for my site to be indexed and listed in.

I might even get enough clicks to make it worthwhile to open up an Adsense account (or is that Adwords.) My initial thought and reaction was with the naysayers. But after taking a good look at the example, Hooray, I say!

IanTurner




msg:3995984
 12:42 am on Sep 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

And everyone needs to decide whether commanderW is an absolute Google apologist or whether his words in any way reflect reality.

I'm not convinced either way yet.

The jury is still out on this one, but that is the problem with surreptitious takeovers - you may need to understand a bit of history before making your own decision here.

signor_john




msg:3996021
 2:01 am on Sep 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think CommanderW makes some good points. I also think this is more about local than it is about travel (sorry, madmatt69), and if it's a threat to anyone, it's a threat to those template-based directory sites that have a name and address on a page of AdSense ads with very little else.

CommanderW mentioned profiles of businesses. A couple of months ago, I spent time in a Dutch city (not Amsterdam), and before I went, I looked up restaurants. Most of the restaurant listings that I found were useless--just names, addresses, and maybe "Write a review" in English or Dutch. Then I ran across a site by an English expat who lives in that Dutch city: He's written thorough reviews of more than 60 restaurants in the city, with photos, links, and other useful information. That's the kind of site that won't be at all threatened by Place Pages for Google Maps. If anything, it might get traffic from Google's Place Pages--if not directly, then through user comments. On the other hand, all those low-value directory sites that provided me with nothing more than a name and address (not even a map) may be hurt. If so, good riddance. Users won't even notice their absence, except for possibly seeing less junk in search results.

Side note: I find it a little amusing that Place Pages use snippets from TripAdvisor. In TripAdvisor's early days, before it had many user reviews, much of its content consisted of snippets from Fodor's and other established travel sites. Now, with Place Pages, the snippers are getting snipped. I don't know if it's a case of "turnabout is fair play (and fair use)" or a deal between Google and TripAdvisor, but it does seem like deja vu all over again. :-)

londrum




msg:3996137
 9:52 am on Sep 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

...if it's a threat to anyone, it's a threat to those template-based directory sites that have a name and address on a page of AdSense ads with very little else

google's place pages aren't a lot different.
what do they have? a name and address and some snippets scrapped from other places. bits and pieces of reviews taken from other places. some images taken from other places. and some directory-like links to similar pages. and a load of ads.
google aren't providing any content of their own. they are just taking it from other people, watering it down, and making money off it with their own ads.

plumsauce




msg:3996144
 10:10 am on Sep 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Tartine is a haven for trust fund yuppies, domestic divas, and slavish followers.

Obviously, they felt right at home in that setting.

signor_john




msg:3996209
 2:52 pm on Sep 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

google aren't providing any content of their own. they are just taking it from other people, watering it down, and making money off it with their own ads.

But they're doing it better than their competitors are, partly because of the maps and partly because they're likely to attract more user input because of their ubiquity and brand name. In any case, unless you're in the business of creating template-based directories with pages that consist of a name, an address, and an invitation to write a review, why should you feel threatened?

IMHO, the moral or takeaway message here is pretty obvious: Don't base your sites and income on automated techniques that the big guys (including Google) can do better than you can. Google can do things like search and Google Maps better than you can. Tripadvisor can attract and aggregate user-written hotel reviews better than you can. Facebook can do social networking more successfully than you can. What those largely automated megasites can't do (or don't want to do) is publish the kind of labor-intensive, human-created and edited content that real people (such as editors, professional writers, academics, and other subject experts) do best.

To use an an analogy, if McDonald's moves into the neighborhood, it's more likely to take business away from White Castle, Burger King, and A&W than from the Johnny Rockets franchise, the '50s-style "malt shop" theme restaurant, or the bar that sells grilled half-pound cheeseburgers on rye. And if it's any consolation, Google--unlike McDonald's--will actually send you customers if you're in a niche that it doesn't serve.

This 43 message thread spans 2 pages: 43 ( [1] 2 > >
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