Who knows? One month you have 4838 impression and 831 actions, and a few months later, for the same “data set” ie. time frame, it gets a little moody and decides…nah, it’s now 9843 impressions, 983 actions. This is, of course, for the backend of Google Places / + / Local whuchyama’callit – Google’s version of “Local”. Confusing on many levels, but in terms of pure analytical data, I have seen time and again after notating numbers on spreadsheets for clients that read something like this: Client #1. February 19-March 18, 2013: 4291 impressions, 579 actions. Ok! We’re in the game. I guess that’s what’s posted, that’s what’s going on! Ok. Now…let’s pretend 3 months passes. Ok. So, now, here we sit three months later and woila, we log back in, and go huh, I wonder what my numbers are for that same period I checked 3 months ago: Feb 19- March 18 2013? Let’s check. I’m not going to give EXACT numbers, but in this case it was 42.82999% HIGHER than it was 3 months PREVIOUS for the same time period. If you’re confused, OR…if you think we’re in the Twilight Zone, yes, you’re right. Or, more appropriately, no, you’re fine, but Google seems to be confused! Again, I don’t know what’s going on here. But, the trend over the last 24 months or so is that these numbers, when referred to IN THE FUTURE seem to trend HIGHER, not lower. Very curious indeed.
Here’s how I feel about it: I don’t trust any of it. It seems TOTALLY random. I give these numbers to clients, but I have to say: it’s not entirely ‘stable’ data. It’s going up..great! I’m happy for that, but it’s not…it doesn’t seem to…I don’t know. Doesn’t seem flush.
The almighty Google. What is going on?
The trusty Mike Blumenthal pointed out April 30th, 2013 that in fact the Google local places features is no longer available in the drop down menus as notated below. Mike mentions in his article, linked above, the following: ”Users can only make it to Google’s local search options if they are in Plus. Equally significant is that there is no unique locally focused brand.”
Again, wow! I get it. Google wants us to use Google+. So they’re basically forcing one to sign up for Google+ to search “Local”. They want you to be in the Google+ environment and be all socially and engage and talk w/ your friends and Plus one stuff and engage etc. I think this is a poor decision. People are probably already experiencing “social fatigue” – I’m talking about normal people, not “industry geeks”. I think the last thing people are looking for is another social network. And beyond that, it’s not even clear how to get to a local search via Google i.e “Hey guys, over here for better local search …. step one, sign up for Google+, step 2…” and so on and so forth. It’s just kind of implied I guess? People will still search with local intent via the “regular search” function, but local results are limited – true local listings are limited to page 1. Beyond that are organic local listings (www.myrestaurant.com), local websites (yellowpages.restaurants.com), etc. Not seemingly better from my perspective. Not easier. Not more transparent. Not easier. Anytime something becomes not easier, it’s probably not good.
Just checking this morning (Friday, May 3, 2013) and Google no longer has “Places” as a drop down option in the top black navigation at the tippy top of the page under “More”, nor do they have it in the “More” navigation drop down under the search bar. Wow. So, yesterday you could search under “Places”…now you no longer can. You can now only search local results, like “Seafood Seattle”, under Maps. You’ll GET limited local results served to you under general search, but there’s no clear way to select “more local results” – you’re only able to go to ensuing search pages (i.e page 2, page 3, page 4) which has blended organic, local and other search results.
Hmmmm. Weird. Google’s local search deal still appears to be a boondoggle.
There are a few things annoying me with Google + and Google in general. Below is a screen shot of a hopefully well disguised client, who upon review after the transfer from Google “Places” to Google+ is showing the below link on their Google + page: Is this your business? Manage this page
This indicates to my clients and to me that in fact the page is not already claimed or being managed. Annoying. When you log in to your account, which in itself is a bit of a maze to figure out (log in, search Google for “Google local” and basically finagle your way through the back door) you’ll see that in fact after you get to the page and you click “manage this page” that it takes you directly to your local business center where your listing is in fact being shown as a well managed and very claimed business listing!
It seems things are getting more complicated and more weird over at Google than they were in years past. In years past, if your page was claimed, it indicated that in fact “this business page has been claimed” or some such language. It was evident to anyone seeing the page that it was claimed. If it wasn’t claimed, that was indicated by a mention consistent with the above stating: ”Own this business? manage this page”.
Why so complicated Google?