Here's the other thread in the Local forum from July 13th.
Google's trying an experimental layout of local SERPs
Unbelievable. I can see Bing's market share getting even bigger now.
As an SEO, this bothers me to no end. Heck, even the paid search guy's going to have some serious issues. Let's just hope they don't do this. I can see adding a tab for local businesses and the like with that layout, but to replace all organic results like that is a killer.
If you check the blog article now, you will see that it's been updated with some interesting news.
The Google Public Relations department called today and confirmed that this is what they call "an experiment". It is running on a pretty low level (as we've noticed) and apparently in several variations.
If they do roll this out for all the searches, you can pretty much start singing the goodbye song for Google.
Part of the search experience is exploring and finding new and exciting websites. If that experience is gone, guess where those people will go? Google is not the Internet and they better get over themselves or they are doomed.
Rolling this out full steam would have to rank as the most not smart business decision Google has ever done if they do it.
It seems clear to me that this experiment is only for local, even hyper-local, search. By hyper-local I mean two things:
1) you've got to be in the locale that you include in the query phrase
2) this kind of result is only applied to certain queries and not others
As an example, when I was in Manhattan today I noticed that I could trigger the experimental SERP with [cinema nyc] and not [movies nyc]. I also noticed that the SERP was pretty darned useful to me as an end user.
And it's also fascinating that the map pushes the right hand Adwords section farther down the page, and the Map actually scrolls with you, covering over even more of the Adwords.
Mike Blumenthal posted a bunch of other screen shots and a new blog post today.
What's REALLY interesting about this new set of results he shows is he analyzed the placement and the organic and local results are actually merged together into one listing. And the new ranking placement depends in part on where the previous local or organic ranking was. Hard to explain, easier if you see it. (Really didn't explain that well, sorry, can't wake up. More caffeine please!)
Google is testing a number of different interfaces combining local and organic, and this is one of several. Perhaps the most interesting commentary out there on the particular interface we're discussing now is in Silvery's article from a month ago in SEL...
Google Local Search Experiment Will Give IYPs & SMBs Heartburn
|...It virtually goes without saying that the change would negatively impact the CTRs of the sponsored listings in the right sidebar which will be pushed down by the new map position, too! |
So, this experimental layout for local leaves me concerned. It seems potentially good for consumers, but very bad for SMBs, IYPs and even possibly AdWords advertisers....
>All they need is a phone number to verify with Google. Google has no way of knowing if the number is physically ringing at "123 Main Street, Smallville", or "6699 Corporate Way, BigCity". I am seeing more and more of this -- companies get a number and then pick the address of a large office building in the target town, (a building where many businesses are located so nobody will notice).
Duh, and I was wondering how (not whether) this would be abused. Because that's an OLD scam--we've been dealing with it in the Open Directory for years.
If you do the same search in Bing, then look at Google's experimental search, Bing's presentation wins hands down.
It is very easy for people to use another search engine if they don't like what they are seeing.
I bet Bing is just laughing and hoping that Google pushes this downgrade, uh I mean upgrade out because it will certainly drive searches away from Google.
Google's [local] maps are being monetized by Google Tags.
I am seeing more of the little 11x15 pixel tag icons with blurbs of text -- like "Save $100 on Installation" below a HVAC shop's local business [map] listing.
Last week Google sent out email offers -- Try it free for 30 days, then $25/mo for a tag -- with some high pressure text telling you "one of your competitors recently signed up for Google Tags"... with the implication that if you don't pay, he'll get noticed more than you.
So long to the free ride on Google maps.
This may be possible like Naver and Baidu, both big search engine in local (Korea and China, respectively), they prioritized the listing of showing their own pages first. That's so scary to me on this if Google implementing something the same.
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