Google has recently launched Place Search and updated the way their local search results are displayed on the main web results page. As an example, try a local search for “carpet cleaning manchester” and you will see how the new layout is now displayed.
According to Google “Today we’re introducing Place Search, a new kind of local search result that organizes the world’s information around places. We’ve clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go.”
The original style of presentation for local searches, which consisted of a small map and a number of local listings positioned to the right of the map image, has now gone. The map has now been moved to the right hand side of the page, above the Adwords paid advertising and floats down the page, as users scroll down. Surprisingly, as you scroll down the page, the Adwords paid advertising disappears behind the map image, which always stays in view.
Established organic listings now pushed further down the page
In most cases the local searchresults are displayed at the top of the main page, below the top Adwords Listings. This results in the main organic listings being automatically pushed further down the page! Our tests have shown that sometimes a limited number of organic listings may appear at the top of the page, before the local search listings, but this does not happen very often.
The new Place Search results now display the physical address and telephone number for each company, together with links to their Google Places profile page and any customer reviews. We have also noticed that links to some third party sites, referencing or having user reviews, about a particular website, are sometimes displayed below the main local listing. Place Search becomes active automatically, when Google’s algorithm detects that a user is searching for local information. Google’s database will then group and list the corresponding local information on the search result page. This represents a major shift by Google towards placing a greater emphasis on local search results with a richer and more informative presentation.
So, what does the new Google Place Search mean for your business?
Well, if you are a Google Adwords advertiser I imagine that you are not going to be impressed with the way your paid for advertising rapidly disappears, as the user scrolls down the page!
I imagine that businesses are also not going to be impressed with being forced further down the page, in favour of the local search results. Especially if you have invested a lot of time, effort and money in optimising your site, in order to achieve a page one organic listing!
Local companies are the outright winner
Clearly, local companies are the outright winner and the launch of Google Place Search is sure to put a smile on the face of many local businesses.
If you do not currently have a local Google Places page, then it is definitely time to get one! For those with a Google Places page, here are some important things to consider:
- Include plenty of details on your Google Places profile page, as these will now assume much greater importance.
- Encourage your customers to leave comments on your Google Places profile page, as these have now become more important than ever.
- Reviews from your customers and other local directories such as Yelp will show up in your Google Place Search listing, therefore you should ensure that you create as many local business directory profiles as possible.
- The number of positive reviews you receive will also influence your overall position in the local search results.
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