A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Google Places

Not Seattle Children's Heart Center

Not Seattle Children’s Heart Center

One of my favorite stories about search was from Google Places. About 2010 when Google Local was really working on merging into Google Maps, I was SEO at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The algorithm was leveraged in favor of locations that had a close proximity to the downtown center.

Seattle Children’s is located outside of Downtown Seattle, in the residential neighborhood of Laurelhurst. So Google, in trying to gather online collateral for this listing for our Cardiology Center went searching for anything supporting “Seattle” “Children” “Heart” “Center”.

It just so happened that Ann and Nancy Wilson…of “Heart” was playing a “Children’s” concert at “Seattle Center”, located precisely in the downtown corridor of the Emerald City.

He’s A Magic Man

Fortunately, Seattle Children’s Hospital had a valuable supporter in Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz. SEOmoz was stil an SEO consulting firm, and the Moz Team was the best resource any SEO could have. Rand was instrumental in elevating the issue up the chain at Google to Matt Cutts himself.

It was the sole time I ever had that few degrees of separation between myself and a change in the algorithm. Since then, Rand has partnered with David Mihm who was later instrumental in helping the Hospital parse its myriad local doctor listing scattered all over the web and optimized for our brand name.

Strategic Edge, where I work now, also serves doctors and surgeons. These issues still crop up from time to time, although much less frequently than before – multiple listings with various Name, Address, and Phone information. If you’re a doctor and you’ve interned at another practice, make sure they remove you from their Google Places listings – and make sure your license reflects your most current location. Here’s more information on cleaning up multiple listings.