Google+ Local History & Algorithm Updates
Updates in 2013
Google Review Filter Improved
Google updated its review guidelines and filter for Google+ Local. This update finds and filters spam reviews more effectively. Reviews considered spam are often written from similar IP addresses or are employees of the business.
Google Review Filter Improved
Google+ Local Phone Support for Data Issues
Google extended its phone support from supporting verification issues only to include fixing incorrect data issues. If data errors are not getting fixed through the Google+ Local dashboard, you can call for live support.
Phone Support for Google+ Data Issues Introduced
Google+ Local Phone Support for Verification
Google introduced phone verification for Google+ Local for the first time. This phone support is to be used when traditional PIN verification fails. This update is only available in English and in the US.
Phone Support for Google+ Verification
Updates in 2012
August 65-Pack – Improvements to Query Local Intent
Google updated its Venice and ShieldsUp update that better understands the intent of a keyword search. When searching for keywords that Google associates a local intent with, the results will be more targeted to your specific location.
Search Quality Highlights: 65 Changes
Exact Match Domain Update / Panda #20 Update
Google released an update to penalize companies that keyword stuffed their URLs. Domains that were considered “spammy” were no longer easily ranking in the organic search results. A modification was already made to the Google Panda update.
Exact Match Domain Update and Panda #20
Google+ Local & Google+ Business Pages Begin Merging
Google began merging pages for business that have both a Google+ page and a Google+ Local Page (formerly Google Places page). This allowed for a cohesive experience for users searching for your business.
The New Google+ for Businesses
Google+ Local Released
Google launched Google+ Local, a new iteration of Google Places. This new platform allows for users to see rich content from Zagat, people in your community, and most importantly friends in your circles.
Google introduces Google+ Local
Google Launches Penguin Update
Google made an update to their algorithm that targeted low quality and “spammy” backlinks. Spammy backlinks can no longer help your website rank organically, and in some cases can harm your website.
Google Introduces Penguin
March 50-Pack – Query Local Intent
Google created a new update called ShieldsUp that builds upon the groundwork laid by the Venice update. This new update is targeted at understanding the intent of your search, more specifically the keywords as they are related to your location.
Search Quality Highlights: 50 Changes
Google Launches Venice Update
Google’s biggest update to local search results was rolled out, Code named Venice. Venice allows Google to display organic listings based on the location you are searching from. A user in New York will see different results than a user in San Francisco for the same query.
Google Introduces Venice
Updates in 2011
Google Begins Updating Local Listings Automatically
Google announced it will start updating Google Places pages automatically if it feels the information is reputable. These updates can come from user submitted data or other local directories on the web.
Google Automatically Updates Listing
Google Places Update: Third-party Reviews Removed, Citations Removed, Descriptions Removed
Google rolled out its own review platform for Google Places and stopped displaying third-party reviews like Yelp. With this update the overall look of Google Places pages changed. Google also removed its “citations” section which listed what citations and websites a particular business was found on.
Google Updates Places
Google Map Maker Released
Google released Map Maker in the US for user generated edits to Google Maps. Map Maker was already used across the world in developing countries and was officially made available in the US. Edits will be reviewed before they are implemented into Google Maps.
Map Maker Released
Google Launches Panda 2.0 Update
Google rolled out its Panda update globally to English-language searches. This will provide higher quality content to users globally. Panda 2.0 affected approximately 2 percent of U.S. queries.
Google Updates Panda
Google Begins Charging for Google Maps API
Google updated how companies/developers can utilize the Google Maps API. API transaction limits were introduced and API users began to get charged after exceeding the limit of free API transactions.
Google Maps API Update
Updates in 2010
Google Replaces “7 Box” With “Integrated” Format
Google replaced the ’7 Pack’ with Places Search; Allowing Google Places to now rank in organic search results. This update made claiming your Google Places page much more important to improve small business marketing.
Google Introduces Places Search
Google Introduces Caffeine Indexing
Google introduced Caffeine, its new indexing platform. With Caffeine, web pages are continuously being indexed by Google to offer users the most fresh and up-to-date content on the web.
Google Introduces Caffeine
Google Local Business Center Becomes Google Places
Google moved its Local Business Center to Google Places. Google Places offers much more flexibility for business owners such as coordinating offers, insights, easy advertising, and even Google sponsored photo shoots in select cities.
Goodbye to Google Local Business Center
Street View Launched in United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Macau & Japan
Street View is extended into the UK, Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan.
Google Launches Street View in UK
Updates in 2009
Google Stops Using Tele Atlas Data. Begins Relying on Their Own Street View Car Data
For more accurate data, Google replaced TelAtlas map data with their own collected by Google StreetView Cars. This change will make the user experience much more consistent across all of the Google Maps features and allows for faster changes when an issue is reported.
StreetView Now Used for Map Data
10-Packs Downsized to 7-Packs
Google has updated the ’10 Pack’ to a much easier to read ’7 Pack.’ The overall look of this top section did not change.
Google’s New 7-Pack
New Google Logos Unveiled
Google updated the logo used on it’s subdomains. It now features the traditional Google logo with the subdomain in simple blue lowercase type.
Google Starts Using new Logo
Updates in 2008
Google Street View Coverage Doubled
Google doubled the coverage of its Street View on Google Maps.
Google Expands StreetView
Street View UI Improved
Google updated the user interface of Google Maps making the user experience more streamlined with Street View. Now users can simply drag the pegman to any point on the map it goes into Street View.
New UI for StreetView
Google Maps Using TeleAtlas Exclusively
Google changed the underlying data to Google Maps. The new provider is called TeleAtlas and was already being used by Google in the Google Maps API and Google Maps for mobile.
New Data Provider for Google Maps
Walking Directions Added To Google Maps
In addition to driving and public transportation directions, Google added walking directions to Google Maps.
Walk with Google Maps
Google Maps Local Business Center Update
Google updated the way and the look of how you get your business listed on Google. The PIN is here to stay; all businesses will need to be verified via a postcard with a PIN on it.
Google Local Business Center Verification Updates
Unlimited Category Options Added To Local Business Center
Google vastly improved the local business center categorization options available to a business. Now, businesses can choose any category they like and add up to five to assist with their local SEO and rankings.
More Options for Business Categorization
Google Allows User Edits To Businesses on Google Maps
For the first time, Google started letting customers update information on Google Maps. If there is missing information or a business isn’t listed or has since closed, a user can suggest a revision.
Google Takes User Input on Local Businesses
Refine Local Searches by Rating and Neighborhood
Google added a new feature to listings for local businesses on Google Maps. Users were given the ability to refine their results by sorting them by the user rated reviews of the business.
New Way to Search by Ratings & Neighborhood
“One Box” Turned Into Local 10 Pack
Google changed OneBox at the top of organic search results page. The new 10 Pack featured 10 local businesses (previously 3) and provided basic information such as name, address, phone number and their location on a map to the left of the listings.
Introduction of the 10-Pack
Updates in 2007
Local Business Coupons Searchable
Google made its Coupons platform searchable. Users can now actively search for coupons in specific industries that are local to them.
Google Allows Users to Search Coupons
Google Maps Implements hCard Microformats
Google added Microformats into Google Maps. Users were given the ability to download the contact information of a local business in the form of an hCard to add to their computer address book.
Google Allows Users to Download Business Contact Information
Google Maps Begins To Accept Reviews
Google integrated user reviews into Google Maps. Users were able to add their review of a business directly into Google Maps.
Customers Can Review Businesses on Google
Google StreetView Launched in Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, & San Francisco
Google launched StreetView in 5 cities. Users were given the ability to digitally “walk” through the Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and San Francisco streets.
Google Introduces StreetView
Neiborhood Searches Added To Google Maps
Google added the ability to do neighborhood searches within a city. This feature made it easyer to find local businesses close to you on Google Maps.
More Detailed Search: Search your Neighborhood
Google Introduces Universal Search
Google announced Universal Search. Local listings no longer only appeared at the top of the page. Other web results that were more relevant than a local business can get ranked abover local results.
New Rankings for Local Businesses
Local Business Center Upgrade: Photos, Custom Attributes, Map Marker, & Analytics
Google allowed business owners to customize and tweak their Google listing. New features included correcting marker placement, adding pictures to the listing, and basic analytics.
Local Business Center gets a Facelift
Google Introduces Traffic Conditions
30 US cities had traffic conditions integrated into Google Maps. The three-color code ranks how severe the traffic is (Red, Yellow, or Green).
Google Introduces Traffic
Local Businesses Included in SERPs
Google started to display local business information in organic search and gave brief comparisons of what they offer. Users were able to see where the business is located as well reviews and other useful information.
Local Businesses Now Rank
Updates in 2006
Google Plus Box Released
Google added Google Maps functionality into organic search for brick and mortar business. When a user searches for a business they can expand the address and see a preview of where the business is located on Google Maps.
Google Introduces Expandable Searches
Google Mars Released
Google launched Google Mars, an interactive look at the red planet similar to Google Moon and Earth.
Google Mars Released
Google Map/Google Earth Imagery Combined
Google Earth imagery (introduced in 2001) was integrated with Google Maps to allow detailed satellite views.
Google Map & Earth Imagery Combined
Updates in 2005
Google Merges Local and Maps
Google Local officially launched in US and Canada. Users were able to search locally for businesses and see their locations integrated into Google Maps.
Google Introduces Google Local
Google Moon Launched
In honor of the 36th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing, Google launched Google Moon, a satellite view of the moon. Users were able to see where the 6 Apollo missions landed.
Google Moon Released
Google Maps API Announced
Google started allowing other websites to display Google Maps directly on their own websites though the new Google Maps API.
Google Allows Google Maps on Other Sites Though API
Google Maps Introduced
Google launches Google Maps to the world. It allowed users to search for detailed directions as well as key points of interest such as hotels.
Google Launched Google Maps