Much has changed in the way Google displays "local" search results since October of 2010. Google Places which used to be a side line player in most small business internet marketing plans became the central theme for Google to re-work local search. The local SERP's have taken on a distinctly yellow pages appeal in that the blended results, enhanced listings combining Google Places, Citation Site review info and traditional website meta data, allow the end user to "shop" directly from the search results.
Along with these updates Google has also been working on ridding GP of all the spam listings that have been created over the last 4 years. Any new listings that get created will need to wait for a PIN in the mail before the GP can go live and in many cases Google will actually have a human call and verify the business information of live listings. Compounding the difficulty of local search is the seperate algorithim that generates Google Places 7 pack. Much has been written about how to properly optimize these listings however one thing all experts will agree on is that Google Places optimization wont bring about consistent results. In other words, Google Places is still not finished updating.
We will be providing many tactics that have proven to be effective in getting a listing into the seven pack and improving your chances of the blended listings on Google's new local search results. Check back each week for other articles that will provide Google Places Optimization Help for your business listings as well as other do it yourself Internet Marketing tactics.