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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Loci2009 – Martijn Beijk – A European Perspective on Changes in Local Search

With Martijn Beijk, we are closing out our Loci2009 series reflecting on important events, trends and developments in Local Search last year. It is a dynamic space and one where as many or more changes look to be on the horizon for 2010.

2009 was a year of change. For me personally because I moved back to the Netherlands from Barcelona, Spain to work at the headquarters office of Onetomarket, the Netherlands as an SEO consultant. Specializing on Local Search it has given me the opportunity to start my international speaking career- presenting a local search business case at SMX Stockholm.

Looking back on 2009 I must say that the Local Search game changed. Competition is gaining, spam is raising, guidelines are sharpening, Google is proactively advertising the local business center as a service – probably to grow independent of 3rd party suppliers.

All-in-all it is a great year to look back to and although I had intentions of publishing a lot more than I actually did I do believe that 2010 will be even better.

I have always had a keen interesting in the semantic web and context-awareness and location based services and I trully think that 2009 has set things off with a blast. Services like Layar, Yelp checkins, Gowalla and foursquare are really great examples of how we use the local search space – and how fast we adapt to all these changes.

I have selected a few posts, not all of them local related. In general I think we should really thank David Mihm for his relentless effort in supporting the space. One thing I always enjoy reading are his small is beautiful column’s on Search Engine Land and of course the annual Local Search Ranking Factors

bullet: Further more I wouldn’t have expected at first that my post about tracking local with Google Analytics was received with great enthusiasm and got nominated for a Semmy.

bullet: Although it hasn’t yet received the attention it actually deserves there was the launch of Using the wishes of local business owners with many storefronts and using the building blocks of my article the definitive guide to KML and SEO it has already shown to be a great tool of which we will hear a lot more in the year of 2010! I believe it is a great development that more and more projects are kicking off in Europe, and one of them is this awesome tool of Arjan Snaterse.

bullet: (Self promo) Anyone interested in KML and sitemaps should listen to this radio show on on SEO 1on1 where I was the invited to discuss the subject.

bullet:Miriam Ellis always amazes me with her perspective on local search stories and I have found this specific post on reputation management regarding reviews very interesting: Edit, Remove and Respond To Reviews – Tools For Conflict Resolution

bullet: Google has been introducing rich snippets based on RDF in the year 2009, these are the first buildstones of the semantic web and I am very happy that Google is finally openly stating they are using them and encourage others to do so.

bullet: Aniceto Lopez who I consider to be my Obi-Wan Kenobi of the SEO space, now living in Vancouver, CA has written an excellent article on his research about how context influences ranking. In this particular article he describes the actions taken for his migration from Barcelona Spain to Vancouver Canada and how this affected ranking positions. This is web citations in true action!

bullet: Mike’s article on Location Prominence, it is a must read if you consider to take Local Search seriously.