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David Mihm did some pretty neat Google maps research last week AND shared the wealth in this post on Moz today :D

http://moz.com/blog/new-google-maps-url-parameters
 
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Linda Buquet

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Hi Amber, thanks for sharing.

I was involved in some of the discussions leading up to that post and was working on my own post, but you posted before I could get mine done. So I expanded your title to include part of the title I was going to use, because reverse engineering the algo and also discovering another local search penalty hack is at the core of this discussion.

Here is the live link:

<a href="http://moz.com/blog/new-google-maps-url-parameters">Stop Worrying About the New Google Maps; These URL Parameters Are Gold - Moz</a>

HISTORY:

To some degree, all of this started with Broland's discovery in this post at our forum:
<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local-important/14378-hack-check-google-local-penalties.html">Hack to Check for Google Local Penalties</a>

Then Google removed Places search so the option to add &tbm=plcs to a query and that hack no longer worked.

Which resulted in this discussion among pros on G+.
<a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SteveMorganSEOno/posts/HQKEHhTaFNv?cfem=1">Has Google killed off the 'workaround' Google Places search, where you can see…</a>

And that lead to David's post on Moz today.

I just commented:

"Knew you had something about this coming out and was interested in reading what you'd found.

I'll be doing more testing now with this ammunition at hand.

All your tests above were for KW only. The algo for KW only searches has always been different than the one for city + KW. The algo for "Seattle Realtor" is easier to reverse engineer. I have that one tested and figured out.

But the algo for KW only, "Realtor" with search location set, has always been tougher to figure out.

So my guess is that if you did more testing that includes city directly in the query like: "Seattle Dentist" it would be much easier to figure out correlation and match the SERPs.

There was a hack published at my forum for checking to see if a listing had a local penalty to determine if that's why it was missing from the "pack." That's one of the main issues in Steve's post you linked to above. I think I found substitute way to test for local penalties - but I'm also going to test some of your parameters to see if I can find any strings that work."


So now I have more testing to do to see if any of David's parameters work.

But I think the easy straight forward hack I discovered may work best of all.
Still testing - will keep you posted.

What do you guys think?

Let's put our head's together and figure this out!
 
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