Changes to Places Search & Google SERPs Display

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
Well ya that pretty much sucks!

Really hurts for smaller towns that only show a 3 pack. Consumers can't even get to the 4th and 5th results if they need to see more options than 3. Guess folks will eventually figure out to go to map search.

I'm seeing differences between the Places search and map search ranking order. Much of it's the same, but some results are different. Hmmm, more to try to figure out.
 

Eric Rohrback

Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
999
Crap... I just checked mine as well, and YUP... it's gone. Google is trying to force users into G+ (logged in) searching for local businesses... or buy Adwords to get your business shown.

So how bad of a wrench does this throw into ranking software?
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
Google is trying to force users into G+ (logged in) searching for local businesses... or buy Adwords to get your business shown.
That's what some have said - force G+ search BUT I don't think consumers or anyone else searches that way. Heck I'm in the biz and I never even search there. A couple times for research maybe. But not if I was actually looking for a local service.

I still vote the latter - more businesses will be forced to use G+

Now 'we' know consumers seldom look past page 1, but a lot of business owners who have been trying to move up in the SERPs think "YAY! I made it to #3 on page 1 of local!" Now they won't be able to find themselves at all, unless they are on page 1.

So I think it will push more to Adwords AND push more to seek the service you guys offer too. :p

So how bad of a wrench does this throw into ranking software?
A big one! I know BrightLocal and PlacesScout are both on it. And I imagine there will be a few late night programming sessions going on!
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
We've been airing concerns to Google. Have a feeling not everyone was aware of this change on the local side. Think it was more of an organic or universal search change.

Several times in the past I reported to Google that the pagination links were missing at the bottom of page one SERPs - so you could not get to page 2, 3, 4. Wouldn't it be nice if this was just another temporary glitch like that? Kinda doubt it, but one can hope, right?
 

Jim Froling

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
138
GOT to believe this is a temporary issue. Google is all about "user experience" and clearly this new experience is lacking from a user's perspective. Local users looking for local services want names and phone numbers, which Places provided in the 7-10 pack.

Now? They get three and then a page full of organic links in a busy, hard to read format without snippets of the wonderful G+ features Google has been touting. That seems to run counter to Google's whole integration crusade of the past year.

I've GOT to believe that the Googlers are pretty smart folks and this change, if permanent, is just plain stupid. As Forrest says, "Mama says stupid is as stupid does". This is stupid.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
One of the comments I just sent Jade is the following:

Pretend you are a non-tech savvy consumer. Search for San Francisco Restaurants.
You like seeing all the local results with reviews - but don't find quite what you are looking for.

You want to see more results like that and want to go to page 2 like you used to be able to! How do you get to more results like that now? You can't!

How is that a good search experience?
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Messages
64
Places tab missing from Google Search. Anyone Else?

This is not a Where's Waldo situation. Is the places tab really gone and now it's all Google+ Local?

FireShot Screen Capture #069.png

 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Messages
64
Who knows. Maybe they will bring back the 10 Pack. Ah yes, the nostalgia of spammers that would keyword stuff the titles and cover the page in fake listings. :eek:

FireShot Screen Capture #070.png

I'll stop now :D

 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,521
Who knows. Maybe they will bring back the 10 Pack. Ah yes, the nostalgia of spammers that would keyword stuff the titles and cover the page in fake listings. :eek:
Nostalgic? Well, don't you worry; there's still plenty o' spam to go around!

"It's deja-vu all over again" - Yogi Berra.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,796
I have to agree that this severely restrains user experience. I can't imagine this working to their benefit. I can see a transition to Google+ Local at some point but not like this. It's too jarring.

Google has now become less readily informational on local businesses than Bing & Yahoo...looks like it's prime time for them to take a chunk of the pie especially since they're pushing heavy on local lately having both rebranded their local dashboards.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
I keep thinking it, but had not mentioned it yet and am surprised no one else has mentioned it...

But seems to me this change, removing links to Google Local results, may in part be due to the Google antitrust concerns. Because one of the primary issues there was Google driving traffic or posting links to so many of it's own specialized search results pages.

Here is a quote about the EU settlement from the Verve:

EU reportedly accepts Google antitrust settlement, requiring prominent links to competitors | The Verge

The EU investigation hinged on four concerns, each of which has been touched on in the settlement. Firstly, competitors were concerned that Google was featuring search results from its own specialized services like Google+ Local more frequently than those from competitors like Yelp.
Even though the quote above was regarding the EU settlement, Google giving preferential treatment to
(or linking heavily to) it's own search pages, was a heavy focus of the US antitrust issues too.

Again, just throwing it out there for discussion, don't know, just wonder if it's related to antitrust issues.
 

Chris Alphen

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2012
Messages
33
Anything is possible with Google, Linda so you're suggesting they are throwing in the towel on local - throwing a bone to Yelp and the verticals to keep the feds off. Only thing is Google actually won on both sides of the pond even though the Euros did slap them a little harder than Uncle.
My head is worn out from scratching. Last week Google had a local search engine and now they don't even though they themselves have stated a number like 38% of all search is local. They still do have an engine for patents, books, applications, and travel. Does anybody know the % of search related to travel? Or maybe there's just more money in it for Google.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
Anything is possible with Google, Linda so you're suggesting they are throwing in the towel on local - throwing a bone to Yelp and the verticals to keep the feds off.
Well no, I don't think they are throwing in the towel on local at all. They are investing in the development of the new dashboard so local is still a priority.

I was suggesting in Google search it may be the reason for removing 2 links to their own local results. But you can still do local search via maps, Google+ and local results still show on page one search. Again just fewer links to their own pages. In this case local pages.

BUT I don't know and am not saying this is for sure or anything. Was just wondering if antitrust issues might be part of the rationale behind removing those search options.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,521
I was suggesting in Google search it may be the reason for removing 2 links to their own local results. But you can still do local search via maps, Google+ and local results still show on page one search. Again just fewer links to their own pages. In this case local pages.

BUT I don't know and am not saying this is for sure or anything. Was just wondering if antitrust issues might be part of the rationale behind removing those search options.
Just to throw in my two cents:

I'm not sure that antitrust issues are a factor here. There's not much difference between "We're just going to show you 7 of our our search results, take 'em or leave 'em" and "We're going to show you a ton of our search results, take them or leave them." Also, this change means they're pushing G+ even harder. It's almost as though now they're saying "Like that 'free sample' of 7 local results? Jump on the Google+ gravy train if you want more!"

Personally, I would think a legit antitrust move would look more like what Nyagoslav describes here:

How Google's Local Search Results Will Look in Europe | Local Search Marketing Blog by NGS
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
Also, this change means they're pushing G+ even harder. It's almost as though now they're saying "Like that 'free sample' of 7 local results? Jump on the Google+ gravy train if you want more!"
I feel like I'm missing something because I've seen others suggest this change is to force G+. But I'm not seeing it.

If they omitted Places search and more links to local results and then ADDED a link and said find more local businesses on Google+, THEN it would be driving more to G+.

But there is no direct connect that I see. The average consumer plugs a search into their browser search bar and lands on Google search. If they don't find what they want or enough variety of let's just say restaurants - they I think they 'may' go to maps, but are more likely to go to Yelp or Bing.

I don't think the average consumer user G+ much and if they do they use it or think of it like Facebook. I doubt many even are aware of the local search option in GP.

And there is no direct link in Google search to Local Search in G+. You'd have to know about it and make a couple clicks to get there. So I just don't quite see the connection when people say omitting Place search is to drive folks to G+ where again the local search option is not even that obvious.

What am I missing? Or does what I'm saying make sense?
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,521
I feel like I'm missing something because I've seen others suggest this change is to force G+. But I'm not seeing it.

If they omitted Places search and more links to local results and then ADDED a link and said find more local businesses on Google+, THEN it would be driving more to G+.

But there is no direct connect that I see. The average consumer plugs a search into their browser search bar and lands on Google search. If they don't find what they want or enough variety of let's just say restaurants - they I think they 'may' go to maps, but are more likely to go to Yelp or Bing.

I don't think the average consumer user G+ much and if they do they use it or think of it like Facebook. I doubt many even are aware of the local search option in GP.

And there is no direct link in Google search to Local Search in G+. You'd have to know about it and make a couple clicks to get there. So I just don't quite see the connection when people say omitting Place search is to drive folks to G+ where again the local search option is not even that obvious.

What am I missing? Or does what I'm saying make sense?
I think it's a subtle push - maybe more like a nudge - toward Google+. As you say, most people who aren't satisfied with the results and don't want to type in another query might just look on Yelp or Bing. But some people who are already on Google+ will probably realize "Ah, more results there" and start using it more regularly for local searches. That's all speculation on my part; notice all the wiggle words. I'm sure another shoe will fall, at which point maybe this move will make a little more sense.

So if someone said it's a strong push to get more people on Google+, I'd have to disagree (for the reasons above). But I also can't see how it would be throwing the FTC a little bone.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
82
Been working with a local client that has been concerned about her business showing up in the "places" pack for other search engines like Yahoo and Bing. I spotted something interesting on bing that might pertain to this discussion.

Do a search for Horse Stable Kennewick, WA on Google - https://www.google.com/search?q=horse+stable+kennewick,+wa&aq=f&oq=horse+stable+kennewick,+wa&aqs=chrome.0.57j60l2j62.5466j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

A couple of organic results and then places pack and then more organic results, pretty standard fare.

Now do a search for Horse Stable Kennewick, WA on Bing - horse stable kennewick, wa - Bing

First time I did the search I didn't get any bing local results, second time I did but no link to further results if I wanted more local businesses.

Now do a search for Horse Stable Kennewick, WA on Bing Maps - Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions

And now we have results coming in from up to a 75 mile radius.

Upon further research I realized this was only one example and Bing does show results to more local results on occasion. At the very least though it does the differences between what's on Bing maps versus the local results even in Bing.
 
Last edited:

Promoted Posts

New advertising option: a promoted post by a Sterling Sky employee reviewing your product or service; this will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More information...

Weekly Digest


Weekly Digest
Subscribe/Unsubscribe

Local Search Forum


Google Product Exert

@LocalSearchLink

Join Our Facebook Group

Top