Local Search News: Google Rolls Out New Place Search

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Yesterday, Google formally rolled out a new presentation of local results, called “Place Search.” It offers a dramatic change to the look and feel of SERPs on Google.com. The first and most obvious change is that the “7 Pack” is gone.

Before Place Search Layout:

Google's 7 Pack contained all local listings and pushed down most organic results.

New Place Search Layout:

Organic and map listings have blended together with the map moving to the right.

Place Search results will begin appearing automatically on Google when they predict a searcher is looking for local information. If you don’t see these local results, a new “Places” link can be found in the left-hand panel of the search results page. This allows you to switch to these results whenever you want.

Place Search began rolling out yesterday and will be available globally in more than 40 languages over the next few days. If you aren’t yet seeing the results and would like to preview them, check them out here.

While there’s still a lot of speculation and unknowns regarding ranking factors, this is seen as a very positive change for the local space. By making local results (and Place Pages) more prominent than ever before, users will likely respond with more local queries and rely on Google even more for local information. The overall volume and percentage of Google queries for local information is likely to increase.

Stay tuned for more updates as Google Place Search rolls out to everyone.

 

3 thoughts on “Local Search News: Google Rolls Out New Place Search

  1. Very interesting changes, which affect more than just local search. I wanted to comment on how social media elements might be affected, specifically the customer reviews and ratings.

    The new layout has put an emphasis on the customer reviews. Prior to the change, reviews and ratings were present on map listings, but weren’t as prominent as in the new layout. Now, the number of stars and reviews a business has from Google and other local customer review sites are right justified on the page, butting up against the paid search listings. This new placement makes the ratings and reviews easier to see—users can quickly glance down the list to find the business with the most and best reviews. This makes review management even more important. You must try harder to motivate users to review your business, keep a closer watch on these reviews and respond to both positive and negative ones.

  2. I wanted to reply to this string from a paid search perspective. Google is still listing ten sponsored links on the SERPS. Two elements of concern is that the map is taking up a large percentage of above-the-fold real estate on the right hand side and the second is that the map remains in place—when you scroll down the page the map will hide the sponsored links. If searchers are not scrolling then the biggest issue I see is that sponsored listings in position seven through ten could fall below the fold (depending on screen resolution). Monitor your CTRs and conversion rates for your ads that are showing in sponsored listings position four through ten. Who knows, if someone scrolls down the page position seven through eight might be the only ones that show because the map is covering the rest, and you may see results increase for those positions. At this point, it is really a waiting game.

    Honestly you have to question what Google are doing? They spring on the public instant search which I still feel people are getting use to, I know I am, and now they switch the look of the page. A couple of days back they spring Google Boost. Honestly have they really thought about all these changes strategically and the impact they have on their advertising revenue and the end user, or is this just a ploy to keep in the public eye now that the Yahoo / Bing transition is complete. Their key source of revenue is the sponsored listings, why would they impact the potential click volume from those? I honestly am at a stage where I feel like switching to Bing just for some stability.

  3. From an organic standpoint, there is some real potential to gain valuable real estate when both a strong SEO and local maps program is in place. Initial testing shows that some sites with a positioning of 1 or 2 in the organic results that was in position 4 for the maps, is now in position 1 of the combined results. This means that now this site has the most dominant placement on the page, which will inevitably drive a much higher volume of traffic. On the flip side, this new structure may prove more of a challenge to achieve the higher organic rankings in the first place, but it is still too early for any conclusive evidence.

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