Start off this week with a nice white paper: Local Map Listings, Local Pay Per Click, Local Search Engine Optimization & Local Social Media from Local Search Traffic, a division of Location3 Media.  This white paper provides a nice summary of where local search is now and some the key elements small business should know about. I found it an easy read. If you have the time and would like to download it, please head over to their website.

Also found a couple of nice articles on local SEO:

6 Techniques for Optimizing Your Local Search Business Profile
Google Places: Does Local SEO and Google Boost Make for a local SEM?

The big news this week though is Google Hotpot. Head over to Google’s blog to read more about it,  Discover Yours: Local recommendations powered by you and your friends

The UBL post describes Google Hotpot this way:
There are three main ingredients, as Google puts it, to this new recommendation and review machine.  They are:

1. Google Places
2. Places You like
3. Places Your Friends Like

Hotpot is a new review services which fits in nicely on Google maps for Android as widget you can put on your phone home screen to easily rate your places. You will have to setup a Hotpot profile, within your Google profile also. You can connect with friends and share your reviews. Will this new service last? Since it is backed by Google, probably. For the small business, it is another area to make sure you are listed and reviewed well.

Here were three articles this week, that covered Google Hotpot well.

Google’s Hotpot Puts Focus on Place Pages from UBL
Google Hotpot: Local Recommendations From Your Friends from Search Engine Land
Google Hotpot Recommendations Now Surfacing on Places Page and Maps from  Mike Blumenthal