RIP Places Search - Causing Google Local Rank Tracking Problems - New Google Update

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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14,436
OK so this has been brewing and I've been in discussions for a couple days, just have not had time to post. And don't really have time to summarize a whole lot but...

Many (all?) of the local search rank tracking solutions were using the old "Places Search" results to gather local rankings beyond the 7 pack. Places Search was baked into their core tracking code, so many (all?) of the local tracking solutions are borked right now.

<img src="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/frustrated.jpg" alt="frustrated" width="20%" />​

I know for sure it's affected BrightLocal, Places Scout and Whitespark's tracking because I'd heard from all of them about it and will link to some posts and share more info below.

1st here is another thing that's impacting Local search consultants now that Places search is dead and gone.

Remember that hack to check for Google Local penalties? (Big kudos to Broland in the thread below for discovering!) It was based off of using Places search, so no longer works. <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local-important/14378-hack-check-google-local-penalties.html">Hack to Check for Google Local Penalties</a> - Dino brought up the fact that it's borked in post #33 and talks about the impact it has had on BrightLocal's tracking.

BACK TO RANK TRACKING...

Here's a post from Kathy with a confusing message she found at Bright Local and Myles and Ross weighed in: <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-maps/19518-google-removes-maps-pages.html">Google removes maps pages</a>

Here is the main G+ stream where the pros have been discussing the issue:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SteveMorganSEOno/posts/HQKEHhTaFNv
In that post Myles talks about the issues with BrightLocal tracking.

And in my post today about another hot topic, the ranking algo changes - Darren from Whitespark said: "Yep, we're scrambling with our local rank tracker. Ugh"

<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local/19543-google-local-algo-shake-up-you-seeing.html">Google Local Algo Shake Up - Are You Seeing Changes in the 7 Pack?</a>

As most of you know I've been working with Mark Kabana from Places Scout for a few years.

We started discussing the this change the second it happened and brainstormed some options. He already did an update, so I think Places Scout is the only local rank tracking that's working right, right now.

He sent me screen shots and explained what he did to work around the demise of Places Search, but we decided not to publicly share the solution, in case it gives Google ideas about what else than can take away that would thwart our efforts to track rankings.

Have you run into rank tracking problems the past couple days?

Do you miss the local penalty hack as much as I do???


I and others I've told about it were using that thing multiple times per day!

<meta property="og:type" content="article"><meta property="og:title" content=""><meta property="og:description" content="Many or I think all of the local tracking solutions are borked right now. Plus the hack to check for penalties is gone as well.">
<meta property="og:image" content="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/frustrated.jpg">
 

Broland

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
136
Yea this is quite sad news. There were actually a few good tricks and uses with the &tbm=plcs, what a shame. I checked all other known tricks, commands and search string modifiers and this seems to be the only one that changed. Hopefully there is a workaround.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
Thanks Blake!

We've been covering that here too. Justin scooped that story yesterday.
I was the one that escalated to Google.

<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local/19535-missing-keyword-data-top-search-queries-google.html">Missing Keyword Data and the Top Search Queries in Google My Business Insights?</a>
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
84
A quick note for all BrightLocal customers. Our rank checker and other tools are all working again - rank checker fixed on Wednesday PM.

We've updated the rank tracker and switched to tracking Google Maps results. Comparing top 7 results in maps vs. pack results is can see almost 100% correlation so the algo driving maps is very similar/identical to that driving pack results.

Others may know different so please pitch in & enlighten me :)
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
Thanks for the update Myles!

The pack and the maps ranking does not always match. Usually it matches pretty much but if someone is penalized or there are other problems, they can rank high in maps, BUT they don't blend so don't rank in the pack.

So the pack order and maps order are often off on 1 or 2 listings but it's the only thing we have right now I think.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
84
Thanks for clarifying that Linda. I wasn't aware of the penalty issue not affecting Maps ranking.

From our testing we're seeing pretty good correlation of maps to blended results, with occasional differences.

But as you say we don't have an alternative option now, and maps is a more relevant product than the defunct old 'Places' page which were, for all intents, invisible to real search users.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
Thanks for clarifying that Linda. I wasn't aware of the penalty issue not affecting Maps ranking.

From our testing we're seeing pretty good correlation of maps to blended results, with occasional differences.
Here's one that just came in today. #1 on maps. Not in pack.

<a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/local-seo-ranking/19713-first-spot-maps-google-com-but-not.html#post42933">First spot on maps.google.com but not showing in the local pack?</a>
 

sergiuliano

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
107
Sorry to answer so late to is post, but GeoRanker's rank tracker can also be used to check the local rankings on up to 200 results per location, All reports are generated using local IPs so the reports have 100% accuracy
 

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