On October 27, 2010, Google released a major change in their primary search engine. For the first time, results from the “Google Places” system, previously confined to map-related searches, were merged into Google’s main search results. Search results now contain more information about local businesses, and those search results appear prominently, near the top of web search results.
Spamming Google search results is easier and cheaper since the merger of Google Places results into web search. In only two months, effective techniques for spamming Google Places have come into wide use. Search quality as perceived by users is deteriorating. Industry sources are critical of Google’s inability to deal with the problem.
We have issued a white paper on this topic.