Google's shift to social (Google+) has been indicative of a more democratized local algorithm. Further evidence is Google Map Maker being increasingly relied on as the back-end for Google+ Local. Looking ahead, the Google Local Business Center used for edits/updates/reporting will likely be wholly integrated into Google+ Local with Map Maker serving as the back-end "mapper-driven" verification tool. Map Maker encourages users (or "mappers") to update geographic info, particularly in their localarea, within Google Maps. Updates are reviewed by other mappers before being published online. Note: "Google Trusted Reviewers" are allowed special editorial privileges. Opportunistic SMB Marketers would be wise to begin diligently working towards attaining this special status.
Making sense of Google's local search algorithm
Within Maps, Google continues to rely on multiple signals to determine which businesses are the most relevant and locally prominent for any given search query. I've put together a 2012-2013 Google+ Local SEO Guide pointing out a few things SMB Marketers should be aware regarding some updates to Google+ Local, including some important tips to improve visibility in local search.
October 18, 2012
Dave Cosper is Vice President of EZlocal. With over a decade of experience in sales and marketing, he oversees all aspects of marketing, product development and client services efforts. Dave has been instrumental in the early success of EZlocal, introducing innovative products and marketing programs from the ground up.
An expert in local Internet-search marketing, he has spent significant time with Local SEO competitive analysis and management of digital media across Local Search.
He has been a key contributor in various companies through start-up, survival, turnaround and growth modes. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Iowa State University of which he credits his outside-of-the-box creativity.
You can find Dave on Google+, LinkedIn, and Slideshare.