earlpearl - 11:40 pm on Oct 13, 2010 (gmt 0)
I've been following local for a long time. It was in Feb 2005 that Google dramatically changed and improved its organic algo and opened the door for local businesses/websites. Prior to that you could never find a local electrician, plumber, store, etc. because of an algo that didn't work for local businesses.
Google brought the little viewed maps.google into google.com thru universal search and opened another door for local businesses.
Currently Google Maps (google Places) is very susceptable to spam and manipulation. Its similar in that vein to google.com 5,6,7 years ago. It does need to be cleaned up for the good of the quality of information and to remove the dirtballs that spam it.
I've got several smbs. We work on organic, Google Places, and PPC. We work on other places on the web. We work on social media. We do that because the old forms of media don't work anymore. Sure its about spending advertising dollars, but its also about getting better information to the searcher.
Its weird for me to support Google Places in that I often criticize it in local venues. Google Places is very buggy and problematic. Meanwhile its an improvement from what once was and frankly its important for web searchers. They want to find appropriate local businesses.
I want local businesses. I don't want a 1-800 florist skimming some of the purchase cost and not giving me service. My sister gave me the name of a local florist for our mom. The guy knew she didn't want any more vases. That is a bit of "better service". I won't get that from a 1-800 florist.
If I need an emergency locksmith b/c I'm locked out of my house I don't want some spammer that might currently be under investigation for ripping people off w/ spammy results in Google and elsewhere on the web....and who might be under investigation b/c they quote people one price on the phone and then show up w/ a far more expensive price. I want a local business that is accountable. If he tries to rip me off I'll give him horrible reviews all over the web. he is forced to be accountable.
It is about advertising and its also about producing better results. My experience is that Local is a big job with a lot of challenges. There is also a tremendous amount of advertising money at stake.
Far be it for me to say whether the job is a promotion, demotion or lateral change. I do believe it is a big job.