A ton of changes have taken place in Google recently, so this week’s, “In Case You Missed It”, is all about Google.   If you have not heard,  Google recently made changes to its local listings, so how your business is listed and what factors influence your listing are being debated. The bottom line message to small businesses though is, get listed and properly!

Matt McGee wrote  5 Quick Impacts of Google’s New Local Search Results.  The five points he  discusses are:

1) AdWords becomes more important.
2) AdWords gets more competitive.
3) Reviews and citations become more important/visible.
4) Building out your Google Place Page becomes more important.
5) SEO becomes more important

Ross Dunn wrote  Google’s New Local Results – How to Adapt . Some of the points he makes are:

1) Reputation management is at a whole new high now that review ratings are exposed so readily to searchers.
2) Business description used in local search results is being sourced from the meta description tag on the associated business page.
3) Links from relevant sites that prove your locality can dramatically help with improving your local search rankings.

Miriam Ellis wrote New Integrated Google Local A Game Changer. Miriam does go through and discuss the different components of a listing and provides her early thoughts on the new changes. Miriam said:

“To me, the greatest negative potential of this integrated approach is its ability to put Google’s bad local business data in the limelight, mixing it up with the correct data provided by business owners via their self-regulated websites.

Businesses that didn’t rate an A-G ranking in the former 7 pack are now being brought to sudden prominence, ostensibly on the strength of their organic/local combined efforts. As a web designer, I actually like this change because it appears to be set to reward the big investment of time and money that goes into developing useful, helpful websites.”

The last two articles are great summary articles. First there is David Mihm’s  A New Kind of Local Search Result: The “O-Pack”? David breaks up his post into:

1) Impact on Business Owners and SEOs
2) Impact on MapSpam
3) Impact on Adwords
4) Impact on IYPs and Directory Publishers

He goes through and pulls together thoughts other search marketers have had on the recent changes but also gives his 2 cents. “By and large, small business owners who have pursued long-term, best-practice SEO strategies across ALL fronts (organic, local, social, etc.) rather than chased Google’s algorithm, should be relatively unaffected by the change.”

Finally, there is Andrew Shotland’s Google Place Search Winners, Losers & WhoKnowsers The main point’s of Andrew’s piece are:

1) SMB Websites Now Must Focus on Both Local and Organic SEO for Place SERP Rankings
2) But Ranking Outside of Your Physical Location Just Got Even Trickier
3)  You’d Better Be Nice To Your Customers
4) Place SERPs = IYP Toast? Or Maybe the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?

In conclusion he says: “For local businesses that focus on both organic and local SEO, at first blush, this change appears to offer even more opportunity to acquire qualified traffic. If I were a business focused on local customers, I would be truly excited about the possibilities.”

From what I have read and seen so far, I would agree with Andrew.  There is a lot to digest, right now these are the articles I would recommend you read. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Let me know your thoughts or what you have seen. If you have any questions, post them below.