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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Loci 2011 – Darren Shaw

Darren is the founder of Whitespark, the SEO firm that built the popular Local Citation Finder. Darren has been developing websites since 1996 and optimizing them for the search engines since 2001. He’s currently helping to organize the first international GetListed University workshops in Edmonton, Canada.


#1)What is a data aggregator? How can they help improve my search rankings?

The big 3 data aggregators are the most important sites for any US based business to start their citation building. Cody Baird has put together an AWESOME 4 part series that explains what they are, why they’re important, and step-by-step detailed instructions on how to submit to each. I wish I had written these posts.

#2) Can Competitors Hurt Your Rankings With Bad Links?

Apparently, yes, you CAN hurt a competitor by pointing shady links at their site. This article changed my thinking on this topic. I previously thought it wasn’t possible.

#3) How to Deal with Duplicate Listings on Google Places

I love Nyagoslav’s very detailed and thorough post on this Google Places pain point. It’s my go to post when dealing with duplicates. Although, it might be a bit dated now as the new method he mentioned in our chat group is the following:

Google Help – Fix a Problem: My listing has incorrect information.
– I have verified my listing in my Google Places for business account.
– Yes (or it is not available on my listing)
– There is a duplicate listing that I would like to have removed.

#4) Two part series:
SEO for Local Search: The Complete Guide
SEO for Local Search: Advanced Tricks

Ted Ives is publishing fantastic content on I love this comprehensive two-part series on Local SEO. I learned a few new tricks from these posts.

#5) Sabotage Methods in Google Places

Phil Rozek outlines some of the nasty ways competitors can damage your local rankings.

#6) Eye-Tracking Google SERPs – 5 Tales of Pizza

In this awesome eye-tracking study from Dr. Pete, I was surprised to see how powerful the local results are. In particular, when there are three organic results above the local results, the local results still get all the views.

#7) Workarounds for Google Places Verification

Nyagoslav outlines exactly what you can do to try to get phone verification instead of post card verification for your Google Places listing.

#8) 35 Local Link Opportunities You Missed

This was posted at the end of 2010, but I discovered it in 2011. Does that count? It’s my favourite post on local link building tactics. I refer to it regularly.

#9) Getting Your Business Reviewed

Also from 2010, but this is my favourite post on getting reviews.

I know there are a couple posts in there about how to hurt competitors. Hope you don’t get the wrong idea! I haven’t, and wouldn’t, do this. I just found the posts interesting. 🙂