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Also, any comments on the merits to using the free listings as landing pages. Where is their value?
RossWal, this is a really cool issue. Profile meta content is being pulled into meta decriptions of Y local results on G serps. The SERP referring URL is not a profile though. (At least I have yet to see an example of one.) It is the geo-local category results page on Y that ranks. (still of great benefit) And as you know profiles are pulled into traditional SERPs in local listing display on the top of G and Y serps on most explicit local queries. My responce addresses natural organic rank.
The linking and indexing strategies of business profiles is IMO going to be a very intriguing part of local search strategy moving forward. I believe this because I believe that profiles MUST be crawlable and indexable. I dont think that the majors understand this quite yet. They are too busy doing small business websites as a lost leader service.
They will get over it. And when they do, we will be talking about the comprehensive distribution of business information for search indexing.
I wonder who is going to do it with us first.
This gets into your landing page considerations. The analysis I have seen suggests structured landing pages convert higher in local. All you have to do is look at 4-5 small business websites to understand why this may be true.
Can you imagine having 10 really nice structured profiles to work with? Distribute, test, index, track .....
RossWal, if you see any profiles ranking please let me know. Thanks for the question. Lets keep talking about this.