Google Using Hyperlocal Blogs as Review Sources
Sometime late last year, I was pleasantly surprised to see our Kennewick Real Estate Blog showing up in Google Maps as a source of reviews and information about local businesses. We do a fair amount of writing about local businesses on all four local blogs, and I’m glad to see them listed almost anywhere — but certainly in a popular setting like Google Maps.
Mike Blumenthal has written a long and detailed post about this, and I highly recommend you read that to understand what Google is doing with local blog content. But I’ll also show a couple screenshots of what I’m referring to below.
First, try it yourself: Go to Google Maps and type your domain name into the search box. Do any local business results show up? If that doesn’t work, use our blog as an example — type “kennewickrealestateblog.com” into the search box, and you should see a handful of businesses/listings.
All of those are places we’ve written about on the Kennewick blog. Some were only passing mentions of a sentence or two. Others, like the bottom one you see, was a full review of a local restaurant. If you click on the listing for that restaurant in Google Maps, you’ll see our blog showing prominently — not under reviews, unfortunately, but under the “more about this place” section.
The placement isn’t ideal, but it’s still a potentially good source of exposure. Google Maps has surpassed MapQuest as the number one site in the Travel/Mapping space, and Google continues to promote Maps to both business users and searchers.
What You Should Do: There’s nothing to install or sign up for; if you think there’s value in seeing your blog listed as a resource in Google Maps, try this:
- (Continue to) Write about local businesses.
- When it makes sense, include the street address or phone number of the business in your blog post. Google uses this information to match your content with its business listings.
- Be patient. This stuff doesn’t show up in Google Maps overnight.
It’s good to see Google recognizing the value of local blog content. I can’t help but wonder if they’re planning anything along the lines of Bing’s Local Lens tool. At the moment, that seems to be the gold standard when it comes to the marriage of search engines and hyperlocal blog content.