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If you’ve ever read the book “Men Are Mars, Women Are From Venus” by John Gray, then you’ll appreciate the sophisticated sarcasm in Mike Blumenthal’s post about Google Places and your small business.

While local SEO is a bit different than your ordinary run-of-the-mill SEO, it’s still important to point out the trickiness of the SEO game. Google’s algorithms are not there to serve businesses. They are there to serve searchers. It’s important to understand that when you enter this playing field.

The second thing to understand about SEO – even local SEO – is that you have a responsibility to figure out what will increase your rankings. It is not any search engine’s responsibility to ensure you are ranked – or even indexed.

A third thing to understand, and this is particular to Google Places, is that your local listings will not appear in the same order on every search query. Two people can make the same exact search and be within two blocks of each other and see two different sets of results. That’s because location relative to the searcher is one of the criteria for returning search results for any query. That’s an important thing to know.

When it comes to Google Places and local SEO, don’t get wrapped up in thinking about it in black and white. There’s a whole lot of gray in there.

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