BluMihmShaw Day 1: Some Local Data For Your Dome

BluMihmShaw Day 1: Some Local Data For Your Dome

Oops! It appears my commitment to the last Thursday of each month (aka BluMihmShaw Day) escaped me. While I had all the data long ready to go, I spent my week focusing on collecting and correcting the data from an earlier post. Rats!

The data I have for you today is very simple. It’s all about these:
scraped citations

You will remember, the above are properties that Google has scraped, and places on the Google+ Local page -near the bottom. Not long ago I did a bit of research, though I am afraid it was a bit backwards.

You see, these properties that Google is scraping are important. I knew that before I did the research. Google, above all other properties, chose to scrape these websites. While I can only make assumptions for the “why”, I knew, based on working in the space long enough, that there was connection between these, and rank. The more the better I was sure. And so, without digging around to see if there was any connection between how many you had and rank, I scraped all the damn properties Google had, and told you which ones, in which markets, and in which cities stuck out most. Because I think they are darn important. Here is the data in case you missed it.

Now, I only realized that this was backwards once Darren Shaw brought it to my attention. Quick note: you will hear me reference Darren a lot because more often than not, before and after publishing/researching any data, I consult him. Between me and you, he’s a local data whisperer. When I brought this previous data to him he said something like “cool, but so what?” I nearly died. I don’t recall how many hours I spent pulling that data, but my heart was broken. He was right though. How does he know these properties mean anything? What proof is there that Google scraping them is a positive thing? None. Eff!

And so, I said to Darren, “I’ll Be Back!! I’m Not Done With You!”

Here’s the proof. Sort of*.

The only way that I could think of that might tell me if Google scraping these things influenced rank at all was: IF on page 1 for any given local term there were more scraped properties than page 2, and page 2 had more than page 3, etc. As it turned out, as I predicted, and anyone with half a brain could have predicted, my assumptions were correct. Here are the numbers:

Page 1: 13,975
Page 2: 12,361
Page 3: 11,703

We scraped Google+ Local listings in 55 cities and 71 industries. If you assume there was 10 listings on each page (we conducted our searches in, and we went back 3 pages then we scraped 117,150 listings. One point was assigned to every property found scraped, for example, in the above picture, that would count at 3 points, which was all be pooled into three totals: page 1, 2 and 3. The totals are as follows:

Now, I said “sort of” above because while this tells us that that listing with more scraped properties tend to have more choice rankings, it does not prove anything. I cannot tell you that if you submit to the properties most commonly found scraped in my previous research, and they get scraped you will rank better. While there is probably some truth, this data does not prove that.

So, I will let you interpret it in whatever way you wish, and do with it what you will.

I however will be making sure that I my clients, at the very least, are all submitted to these properties ;) But that’s just me.

Am I crazy? Let me know below.

Where do we go from here? Well, my next step is collect some of these properties for our UK and Canadian friends, as I only focused on the US last time. Once those are published, I may do a couple popular niches. Fortunately for me, I have built a tool that collects this data for me, and so gone are the days where we do this manually. With a bit more work, I just may open this to you guys. If you wish you have first dibs, please register to our newsletter, so I can keep ya in the know – I will need a few beta testers!!

Finally, thanks to Phil Rozek’s valuable input, our next BluMihmShaw Day will be about CATEGORIES! Stay tuned!

About Adam Steele

A SEO & Local SEO by trade, Adam spends the majority of his time creating new efficiencies through smart processes and the leveraging of technology. He is ruthlessly passionate about building smart, lean businesses, and exploring new, lean, internet marketing techniques. Find him on Twitter @AdamGSteele.

  • Nyagoslav

    Great research, Adam.

    There are just two small potential issues that might be affecting the research:

    1) Google doesn’t really show all the sources they want to show in the “Reviews from around the web” section. Previously they were showing more (back in the old interface), now they choose to show just up to 3 on the G+ Local listing itself and up to 4 in the search result sidebar display. Thus, it is not really possible to say with absolute certainty “Yes, Google displays [N] amount of such sites for this business.” So this might potentially influence the total numbers

    2) Google displays only some websites in this section (Reviews from around the web), i.e. some sites have absolutely no chance to ever be featured there, although they are important citation sources. A very notable example is the fact that you found Yelp on only 12 listings. Another notable example is that PageInsider and PageGlimpse to be one of the most frequently encountered sites in the section.

    I definitely don’t deny that the sites featured there ARE extremely important. I just think it’s extremely difficult to draw correlation/causation conclusions from this data (as it is difficult to draw such conclusions even if you have data about any potential ranking factor – check the research of Bizible on the local ranking factors) :)

    Just CAD0.02 here.

  • Darren Shaw

    Hey Adam,

    I think you have a case of “correlation, not causation” here. Those values are “reviews around the web”, so businesses on page 1 have more reviews than businesses on page 2, and of course it wouldn’t be surprising that the businesses with more reviews tend to rank better. It might not just be the review though. Businesses that have more reviews are likely more active in all areas of their online marketing.

    • Adam Steele

      I agree with you both – it really doesn’t prove much at all. More of an interesting observation. And like I said, take it, and do with it what you will. In my case, I will make sure my clients are submitted to these properties/directories. Just in case there is something to all this : ) Thanks for stopping by you two!

  • Dennis

    Good read Adam and I’m with you on the my clients are submitted to those sites.

    For a recent franchise client, claiming, verifying & optimizing 1000 directories / citations for 200 locations, you betcha their brand rankings improved overall and not only from a corporate branding perspective, the local franchise traffic improved greatly as well. It’s not the one thing we do, I’ve said that many a time and will say it again, it’s not the one thing we do, it’s all the things all the time that deliver 1′st page listing results…

  • Dan Leibson

    Great article. I have noticed some very similar things. Specifically we have had clients that we have helped develop review campaigns for that target places like FourSquare, SuperPages etc. We have found that these campaigns produce pretty significant rankings increases for these customers. This is awesome for us, because it can be really hard to create easy to implement Yelp and Google+ review campaigns with their filters and the others don’t nearly have those problems.

  • Doc Sheldon

    You beat me to it, Darren! ;-)

    Still, although it’s only correlation, it is interesting, and would probably bear some more research. Not sure if there’s even a way to isolate the data sufficiently, but it’d be a fun exercise to try.
    Love “local data whisperer”, Adam… and I couldn’t agree more! I only know one other guy that might be as knowledgeable on local, and he’s undercover. ;-)

  • Darren Shaw

    Oh, and let me add that your previous data study is AWESOME. Sorry i broke your heart. ;)

    I’m really not “so what?” about it. I just see it as valuable in a different way than you do. You see it as the important places to get citations on. I see it as the most comprehensive collection of *review site* data ever collected. I find it incredibly valuable for telling me which sites Google considers noteworthy 3rd party review sites in any given industry. So, once we’ve knocked out 10 or so Google+ reviews, I can refer to your data to know which 3rd party sites to focus on. Super handy.

    • Adam Steele

      Helluva guy. Yes, I think I often forget to step back from the data. I know there is value here, I just have trouble interpreting it. Let’s do this…I will collect, collect and collect data, and then just post it. Then you can come in and tell us why it is important haha. Thanks as always Darren.

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