Mike Blumenthal posted yesterday that Google Local appear to be taking business reviews from non-tradional sources such as blogs.
Here is an example blog post- Von Ray is awesome. If you live in Portland and you need a trainer, you should call him to talk…
The section of text below is where Google Local is picking up the review from
You can see this review by searching for VC Fitness Portland in Google Maps
Taking a look at the above segment of text, it appears that Google are taking the telephone number and associating it with the Google Maps listing, perhaps also picking up on the location "Portland"
This is the same method that Google have been using to gain citations/links, from places like Yelp! and local directory sites.
The weighting of these are not really known yet but I can imagine they will be fairly high as a blog post with a review is a lot rarer than a review from somewhere like Yelp! Read More
The news about personalisation was not widely picked up on last Friday, perhaps due to the timing of other announcements about First Click Free, it does not mean that it should go unnoticed.
Many of you will have seen Google personalised search, which gives users a more personalised results page, even allowing you to remove certain results or bunk up others. Now personalisation is standard to all Google users, whether signed in or not! The only way out of it is to disable it by clicking the "Web History" tab at the top of Google and opting out.
But what does this mean for SEO?
Although I believe that Google have not fully rolled out personalisation and they are still collecting data before a lot of results will be personalised, the likelihood is that we will all experience some personalisation in some form or another in the future(of course Web History would have to be enabled), the weighting on the rankings however is yet to be known.
This however does not mean that SEO is changing! Yes if you did a product search, for example lets use "Bose Headphones" you may find that your favourite online store Amazon appears more often and higher up in the search results. This makes perfect sense, because you obviously trust Amazon and frequently use amazon to purchase products, so why shouldn't Google help you out? However for the majority of searches there is unlikely to be a difference is results from user to user. For example if you are in need of plumbing services and you search for a for a "plumber" in Google, the likelihood of you having previously visited a site in the past 180 days* related to "plumber" are very slim. Therefore the results will be unchanged.
*180 days is the longest Google will track your web history based on your browser search history.
In a nutshell, yes search is becoming more personalised, but for the majority of search terms the effects of this new feature is likely going to be very minimal. Read More