Hotels Lose against Google Local: Centroid Battle for Las Vegas

This is part 3 of my three-part series on Local Search in Google (The Centroid Battle for Las Vegas). In part one we dissected a Google 7 Pack page for hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. In part two we took a close look at a major hotel property that had virtually disappeared from local hotel search results on that same ‘7 Pack’ page. In part 3 we are going to look at a variation of how a hotel property can ‘disappear’ even though its physical location suggests it is in one of the best possible locations for top rankings.

Our research again begins at the intersection of S. Las Vegas Blvd. and E. Flamingo Rd. in Clark County, Nevada. This time we’re going to take a look at the area from above, thanks to a digital orthophoto quadrangle (DOQ) provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), that I added some arrows and hotel names to.

Caesars Palace Flamingo Ballys BellagioCaesars Palace, Flamingo, Ballys, Paris, and Bellagio as viewed from above

You may recall from post one in this series that only Caesars Palace (position B) and the Flamingo Las Vegas (position C) appear in the 7 pack even though all four of the hotels listed above (Paris is for reference) are equal in distance to the city centroid. In post two we uncovered some likely reasons why the Bellagio Hotel had lost its place (position D) in the seven pack, which leaves us with one final hotel property.

Places Ballys Las VegasPlaces for Bally’s near Las Vegas

I’m actually a big fan of Bally’s Hotel Las Vegas (much in part due to its central location) but there is no shortage of errors to be found online that are quite likely to be keeping Bally’s Hotel (and possibly even Paris Hotel) off of the seven pack results page. Take a look at my edited screen grab above to spot some errors.

Just like the Bellagio (also not appearing), there are 3 place pages found when searching for Bally’s by brand-name. It’s an ugly mess no doubt. Position A has a title of Paris Las Vegas with the URL for a restaurant located in front of the hotel. Position B is for Bally’s but notice how the address is incorrectly posted? The address (which is correct for the hotel) is also duplicated as the address for the restaurant (incorrect). Position C also has a Bally’s URL (like in position B) but the title reads Paris Las Vegas and the toll-free 866 number listed isn’t even correct for the hotel (Paris toll-free reservation desk is 877-796-2096).

Every one of the listings shown above has at least one element of incorrect or inaccurate information, providing greater evidence that what was discussed in post two, offers strong credibility for reasons why a particular business may not be appearing in the seven pack.

Ballys Google Place PageBally’s Las Vegas Place page (click to view full size)

You would think large corporate hotel and casino operations would have a lockdown on their place pages (you would be wrong). As we can see on the upper right side of the above screen grab, this Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel page (which I believe is the real deal), has not been business owner verified. The address starts out good as 3645 South Las Vegas Boulevard (I prefer Las Vegas Boulevard South) but there are some obvious errors with the address after that.

The photos (provided by Panoramio) appear to be showing the Las Vegas area but they are quite poor in branding for this particular hotel. That’s been frequently the case in my research of relying on user generated photos that are placed algorithmically on the page. It’s a far better user experience in my opinion when the business owner provides at least six high quality photos that appropriately reflect that particular place page.

Paris Hotel Las Vegas Place PageParis Hotel Place page (click to view full size)

The place page for Paris Hotel isn’t any better than the one for Bally’s. Both hotels are under the same ownership, and likely the same management, but there’s no logical explanation for this mishmash of confusion. Paris has the URL for Bally’s listed even though they have their own site and reservation system. It’s also not a business owner verified place page. A user landing on the page and looking at the images would quite likely assume this was a page for Bally’s. Even the category information is incorrect (circled in red). While other (well ranking) hotel properties were listed in categories such as “Casino, Hotel/Casino” this one above for Paris is listed first under “Physician.” Somebody get me a Doctor.

Eiffel Tower Restaurant Page2 place pages aren’t always better than one

I’ve included a screen grab of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant (which is located in front of the Paris Hotel on the Las Vegas strip) because it’s likely not helping the situation when there is a restaurant place page using the address for Bally’s Hotel and a duplicate restaurant place page using the address for Paris Hotel. It’s bad for users, it’s bad for search engines, and it’s bad for business.

Let’s Review: We started in the first post at the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Blvd. because that is where Google says the current centroid for Las Vegas is located. Since there was a hotel property on each corner of the intersection we used ‘hotels’ as the keyword for our local research. It could be expected that each of the four adjacent properties would have shown up in 7 pack results, but that wasn’t the case. Two hotels (Bally’s and Bellagio – highlighted in post number two) are currently excluded from the seven pack, which provided excellent opportunity to study potential reasons why. We found many.

Also in the first post of this series I talked about ‘wildcards’ that typically appear in positions F and positions G (or 6 and 7) of a seven pack. The hotels appearing in those positions have already altered since last week. Here’s a fresh look at today’s results.

Las Vegas Hotels OctoberLas Vegas Hotel Results

Today’s newcomer is Casino Royale Las Vegas taking over wild-card position F. The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino has moved into wildcard position G and the Luxor is gone from the 7 pack mix. For now, the cluster has moved North of Flamingo Rd., and the battle for the centroid in Las Vegas continues.

Note: I will be addressing several “most important factors” from this three-part series in more detail (along with quite a bit of information about reviews and other local search signals) during my Local Search Rankings PubCon session in Las Vegas Nevada on November 8, say hi if you’re at the conference.

Comments

  1. Hi Michael,

    I just recently found your blog and I love your posts.

    Unfortunately I will not be able to make your presentation at the PubCon session in Las Vegas Nevada on November 8.

    Will we be able to purchase recordings of your portion?

    I appreciate the support.

    Alex

  2. Alex, I will likely post the presentation online (at least the slides) and if I remember to I’ll record the session as well. If I do it will get posted here.

  3. This explains why we at the restaurant are receiving calls for the hotel. It is confusing people.

  4. Thanks for the comment Lyle. I think Google is partly to blame here but hopefully the hotel makes some changes to the pages. The restaurant is in a perfect location and should be highlighted for its own uniqueness.

  5. Great post Mike…..does not seem fair that you also “play” a doctor during the day and somehow SEO at night. Will you be covering the nightmare fo trying to delete duplicate Google Places listings?

  6. Thanks Kevin. I don’t plan on covering that here soon, may cover the topic while at PubCon and if I do I plan on posting that content by December.