Google Local Business (GLB) – Off Forum

Information provided on the PAII Forum is to be for the edification and support of the Innkeepers who utilize the service.  I have asked permission to re-print PAII Forum information off-line, should vendor to vendor communication begin.  I have been granted that permission by AnneMarie DeFreest, Board Chair Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

Register NOW! to attend our FFA Industry Webinar on Google Local Business Listings.

Note: FFA indicates Training offered by Acorn that is “Free For All”, and DOES NOT count toward the “1 Free Pass” provided to Non-Acorn IS Customers who wish to “try out” an Acorn IS Customer Specific  Webinar.

Forum Subject: Hotel in our Google Local Listings

“We have a local hotel that takes the number 2 position in our Google Local Business listings upon search for a bed and breakfast in our city….”

[Read Full Thread 1]

Innkeeper Response: “… At the bottom of the Google search page for B&Bs in your city, there is a link that says “Dissatisfied? Help us improve” and there is a form that you can fill out that includes an option saying “contains a page that is irrelevant”…maybe that will help…”

[Read Full Thread 2]

Vendor 1 Response: “I hate it when I see this kind of stuff happen. Go here fill out this form and Google should kick them out of the listings….”

[Read Full Thread 3]

Vendor 2 Response: “Another view on this topic to consider.  Although I agree that Large Hotel properties should not be passing themselves off in the Bed and Breakfast category listing in Google Local, the link provided to get Google to “kick them out” works both ways.  I’ve seen many Bed and Breakfasts out there being set up in the Hotel category for their own Bed and Breakfast property.  Test it out to see that indeed it does work both ways … “

[Read Full Thread 4]

Vendor 1 Response: “Thanks for doing the research on this and it is great to see we have done such a good job of Search Engine Optimization on our B&B clients to get them to show up under the Hotel Category.  Non of the properties (all clients of ours) you point out have added themselves into the Hotel Category, Google has simply pulled them as a result to show.”

[Read Full Thread 5]

Vendor 1 Response:  “It looks like Doug the owner of Arsenic & Old Lace has selected to add his property into the Hotel Category.”

[Read Full Thread 6]

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Google Local Business Listings – 101

There are 3 ways to view information on a Google Local Listings:

1 – In Google Search (http://www.google.com/)
2 – In Google Maps (maps.google.com)
3 – Google Local Listing Detail Page (Which you click to get to from either 1 or 2)

Research:

Not all Google MAP listings show the tag line: Category: Hotels or Category: Bed and Breakfasts, etc. as indicated on the B listing circled below. Look at the A listing, they are a Hotel, and they don’t have the tag line: Category: Hotel that the B listing does on these Google Map listings.

The snapshot above was used INACCURATELY to try to prove the point that this B&B did not use “Hotel” as a Category on their Local Listing.  As you read further, you will see for yourself that this B&B indeed did have “Hotel” words in 2 of their 5 Categories.

  • This “Tag Line” does not show the full extent of the Categories assigned to any business.  
  • This “Tag Line” does not appear on all listings, even when claimed.
  • You must click on through to the Local Business Detail Page to see all Categories. 
    (Click the Red Balloon if you are testing this live.) 
  • All categories assigned to this listing may be seen once you click the “+” beside the word Categories.

Look at the Red Area Above.  

You can see for yourself that the following Vendor Statement is not accurate:

“Non of the properties (all clients of ours) you point out have added themselves into the Hotel Category, Google has simply pulled them as a result to show.”

“Hotel” Categories indeed have been assigned in this Google Local Listing.  See #3 and #4 below.

1: Bed and Breakfast
2: Travel – Bed & Breakfasts
3: Travel – Hotels
4: Motels & Hotels
5: Travel – Motels

How do I know these were not just “…pulled by Google?”

It has to do with claimed and un-claimed listings.  A listing must be claimed to have more than one Category defined.  Otherwise, unclaimed properties get their one Category defaulted by Google.  Typically un-claimed B&B listings default to the Bed & Breakfast category, and un-claimed Hotel listings to the Hotel Category, etc.  This particular B&B had the maximum of Categories (5) defined. 

Come to the Webinar to learn more on Claimed and Un-Claimed listings!

On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the most important to GLB placement), the online documentation Local Search Ranking Factors indicates:

Proper Category Association – 4  (IE: REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT FOR GLB)

So based on this documentation, the sites being discussed have a key element (Category) defined so they have an opportunity to be seen for “Hotel”.    In fact, they have it in 2 of the 5 Categories.  “Travel – Hotels” and “Motels & Hotels”

Other thoughts regarding the vendor statement: “…we have done such a good job of Search Engine Optimization on our B&B clients to get them to show up under the Hotel Category…”

The definition of the “Proper Category” is considered to be one of the most important of the 41 items listed in the Local Search Ranking Factors documentation.

Especially when compared to those topics that might relate to “Search Engine Optimization” of the Web site.  (See Below)

Page Rank – 1.5
Quantity of Inbound Links to Web site – 2.14
On-Page Criteria – 2.98

Conclusion:

The sites mentioned in the PAII Forum post do indeed have “Hotel” phrases assigned as Categories.  You simply have to drill down far enough to see them.

The Categories defined contributed to the business showing up in Google Local (Map or Web) for “Hotel” phrases.

Final Thoughts:

Acorn has helped teach 100’s of innkeepers about Google Local Business Listings.  It is every innkeepers choice as to what Categories best suit their marketing strategy.  It is important to remember that Google provides the opportunity for your peers to file a report if they believe you are spamming the Google Maps listings.

References:

In 2007, Categories such as “Travel – Hotel” were introduced as available Categories to choose from when defining your Google Local Business Listings. [Read More]

In 2008, Free Form Categories were added, and you were no longer required to choose from a pre-defined set of Categories. [Read More

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If you are a PAII member, the link to this Forum Post is:
http://www.innkeeping.org/forums/posts.asp?topic=70170&

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