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Google Place Search - Maps now above right hand Adwords column
Whitey




msg:4223033
 10:27 pm on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is anyone seeing maps on the top right hand spot above adwords?

Only 3 adwords slots are above the fold and no organic search results are showing for one of the categories i monitor.

 

backdraft7




msg:4223554
 7:51 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

The map image is now gone for the same searches I was doing this morning - coincidentally my traffic and sales just recovered.

Whitey




msg:4223612
 10:11 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know if this is permanent or is it Google doing advance split testing? There appears to be inconsistancy.

There are so many features being rolled in and out of Google's serps these days i would think users are getting confused. But Google sees more than us and you'd have to believe they know what's best for ( their ) business and the user experience.

The funny thing is traffic is up on sites i watch, but conversions are lower. I wonder if there's a relationship in this with Google's moves.

tedster




msg:4223616
 10:31 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

The blog post says this is being rolled out as a new way to serve local results. The testing phase is over - took a couple months.

i would think users are getting confused

Most users barely notice. They just see what they want and click - or not. They don't puzzle over the nuances the way we do.

briggidere




msg:4223624
 10:47 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

It looks like the titles are changing from the organic to the places titles this morning. It isn't happened for all the searches I have tried but a majority.

Do you still think they are organic results with places tagged to them?

Whitey




msg:4223625
 10:51 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wonder how much of a percentage of e-commerce sites depend upon a locational factor, and therefore how much of a disruption to distribution this might be?

And the faster these changes go , I can't help feeling that Google is really reacting to changes itself, rather ( you could argue ) than driving them. The convergence of geo based devices and content appears to be disbursing into social media , new apps and devices. If you're going to go local then there are other players who are stronger at it , such as the telco's and Yellow Page's directories - and they don't need to distribute through Google.

I also wonder if Google is spreading itself too thin by necessity.

Have a look at search results on your mobile and what do you see. Then compare it to your browser. Something's not quite right. To me the mobile application is made to locate and dial, whereas the browser experience doesn't follow the same experience.

I think Google needs to separate it's experiences for mobile, local and general distinctly. Just my 2 cents worth .

tedster




msg:4223626
 10:54 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you still think they are organic results with places tagged to them?

Yes, exactly. This SERP is a hybrid and organic ranking factors did not go away. But having a solid Places presence just became a lot more important.

Robert Charlton




msg:4223627
 11:02 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is not a monolithic switch to just one type of organization.

In many cases, keep in mind that directories and review sites provide a utility that Google's Place Pages currently do not. Many geo-vertical directories and review sites also are well branded themselves, with a heavy following... and there are user expectations that these should be shown.

I am seeing Place Search returning many differently segmented layouts, and it's highly likely that Google will be running evaluations over time on best layouts for what geo-niches in what place, with individual site authority and branding still carrying some weight. With personalization, the number of considerations is likely to increase.

Different layouts I'm seeing, among others...

- full organic-sized Place listings with directories either mixed throughout or returned beneath. In some cases, directory sites that were previously beneath the seven-pack have now moved above the "organic style" place listings, which might be highly beneficial to them. Often, there are three directories above and three below the seven pack in the middle. In some cases, directories also appear within the seven-pack. I'm seeing this a lot with hotel searches and some national widget directories I've worked with. Choice of which layout, though, currently varies by city, by vertical within that city, etc.

- seven-pack listings on top as before, a bit larger than they used to be because the map is over to the right, but most of the page below listing directory and review sites. The [chicago restaurants] search Whitey mentions above is currently a good example of this.

This makes sense to some extent with this search, because restaurant sites as a whole aren't very good, and review sites tend to be more useful. But I'm also seeing in pizza searches websites with Place Pages in the center, and review sites top and bottom.

- straight organic, no Place Pages or maps returned at all, often in large cities where I've seen at least the maps and seven packs before, so I've got to assume that either this hasn't rolled out yet, or that Google is running some tests.

Etc...

Re the testing, I suggest reading this thread and the articles it points to in order to get a sense of where Google will be going with this...

Google & Traffic Shaping - a hidden method to the quality madness?
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4222996.htm [webmasterworld.com]

I suspect that Google is going for highest user satisfaction. Hard to say whether they'll achieve it without collateral damage and customization that frustrates, but I think that's their goal. Keep in mind that this ultimately plugs into mobile search.

incrediBILL




msg:4223633
 11:22 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think Google is in a catch-22 here because pushing AdWords down the page along with sites that earn from AdSense is going to hit them hard in the wallet.

Now it's going to be a balancing act between what's good for the searcher vs. good for Google's bank account, which are often diametrically opposed.

Robert Charlton




msg:4223635
 11:32 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

pushing AdWords down the page

I'm sure they're going to be testing that. I was playing with it for a while, and it has a mixed effect. I'm thinking that the #4 AdWords position might not be a bad place to be, if your potential customers are interested in the map.

Whitey




msg:4223636
 11:33 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Keep in mind that this ultimately plugs into mobile search


That's my problem , the two types of search experience priorities that need to behave differently in e commerce are :

- mobile - search and dial the business
- desktop - search and interact with the business' website

If you force folks onto their phones , Google may loose the desktop business. If you give users a local experience , they are better off using their phones and ultimately they don't need Google for that.

Trying to merge the two perplexes me - but Google has a bunch of multi PHD guru's working on this and I'm not so we'll see.

I would think meta search engines in travel and hotels would be up for elimination, especially with acquistion plans of a major data aggregation service recently. I'm seeing prices creeping into the displays. Anyone else seeing this ?

mugsy




msg:4223663
 12:34 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not trying to get off topic here, but Google Place and local searches aside, today marked an incredible change-up in the SERPS based on my location for virtually all the major keywords I monitor within my vertical. To clarify, this isn't for [tampa computer services] type searches, but simply [computer services]. The results haven't been solely geo-optimized pages (for example, /computer-services/tampa.html), but a mish-mash of top national players, competitors with strong geo-optimized pages, informational sites like Wiki, and maybe some keyword-in-domain type results thrown in here and there. Unfortunately, we don't have the option to turn off our location as Google finds this customization "an important component of a consistent, high-quality search experience." Even if one did have the option to turn their location off, I have doubts that the everyday user would think/care to do so. Unfortunately this all means I'm seeing lackluster rankings for search terms I was once doing very well for and now I have to rethink my approach.

And if you care to know what really threw me for a loop, if the geo-targeted SERPS didn't show up for a given "national" search, the SERP is still that mish-mash of top players, informational sites, and keyword-in-domain type results...an entirely new set of players in the spce which suggests something is going on behind the curtain, at least from my vantage point.

I know this localized organic SERP phenomenom has been brought up as early as April 09, and perhaps it hasn't been rolled out to my vertical and I've been riding the gravy train for a while. However, I couldn't help but find it interesting that this happened on the day that Google Place is rolled out and the importance of localized results has been reiterated. I'm curious if others have dealt with this problem and when it started for them. I'm also curious to know if anyone saw a this happen within their vertical today, along with the Google Places roll out.

Your feedback is appreciated!

aakk9999




msg:4223708
 3:51 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am now seeing yet another addition to SERPs layout on google.com. Apart from balloons, there is an image added from Google places page - makes SERPs looking very colorful.

McMohan




msg:4223721
 5:19 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Any of you compared the Places tagged results on the main SERPs to results on Google Maps? I see them varying widely.
Would this mean, sites with Places tag on main SERPs aren't there solely due to their ranks on Google Maps, neither are they purely organic ranks with Places tagged to them, but a mix of the two?

I see some new sites in the first page with Places tag. So, they aren't just existing organic results with Places appended to them.

Vimes




msg:4223728
 5:27 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would think meta search engines in travel and hotels would be up for elimination, especially with acquistion plans of a major data aggregation service recently. I'm seeing prices creeping into the displays. Anyone else seeing this ?


completely agree Whitey and yes the prices are there for me.

This is exactly where the revenue stream will come from, the focus on the map and then the PPC on the "Google meta search" they are implementing...

Jeez I'm going to join Fair Search :p.

serious rethink on where and what we focus on....

Vimes.

Spencer




msg:4223739
 6:20 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

"serious rethink on where and what we focus on.... "

As with all frontiers, the goal posts change. I think that Google is now out of the gold rush now and if we want to survive we have to get creative. There are plenty of new frontiers and the only thing keeping Google competitive is that the general public still think that SEO & SEM are cutting edge. Network Marketing is certainly my future.

zaneta




msg:4223742
 6:50 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Guys, apart the fact that we are scre**d, I
dug a little deeper and found out that if you are searching for
hotels in a location and you enter the Google page of the hotel from the maps (more info link), now you can see booking rates - by entering dates - from "sponsored" sites, for example booking.com. OK so far,
but I have find out that Google has affiliate partnership with booking.com and takes his own percentage from the booking. So this is
not a better results thing rather a G' makes more moneyish.
Former nice Google.

Cheers

Robert Charlton




msg:4223744
 7:00 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Keep in mind that this ultimately plugs into mobile search

That's my problem , the two types of search experience priorities that need to behave differently in e commerce are :

- mobile - search and dial the business
- desktop - search and interact with the business' website

Whitey - I have huge hesitations about Googles ability to predict what I'm going to want... but with regard to the above I'd fault my oversimplified statement much more than I'd doubt Google's understanding of how different kinds of search need to behave in ecommerce.

Spencer




msg:4223763
 8:06 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

"I have huge hesitations about Googles ability to predict what I'm going to want"

I think Google knows exactly what I want, but I doubt that they will give it to me ;-)

incrediBILL




msg:4223766
 8:16 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google has affiliate partnership with booking.com and takes his own percentage from the booking.


You think they're just going to sit by and let Bing take all that money?

Pudders




msg:4223777
 9:34 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

We rely on geographical searches for our business. Obviously this was worrying when it happened as I thought people would only see the local places to them with our organic link shoved right out the way!

Currently not the case...I have performed more tests with people that are over 100 miles from our area. We both performed the same searches and were seeing the same results. The same top businesses that were organic still rank high in place listings. We also searched on niche business phrases for areas that are miles from our loacation and still the same business names appeared (with the inclusion of s few new ones)!

It's as though the well SEO'd sites that placed high on an organic listings before, still place high in the new look place listings...provided they have registered for a place listing!

So... how does Google determine which place listing is A,B,C,D etc..? Is that all based on SEO or luck of the draw?

anallawalla




msg:4223852
 12:53 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is anyone else getting no map options for "town name seo" ?

This happened in the US some months ago, but now I see this in Australia.

Here some other map-producing searches are still showing the onebox and some the new Place Search.

I might be imagining it but is anyone seeing fewer AdWords on the right and hardly any at the top?

dertyfern




msg:4223912
 3:27 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I might be imagining it but is anyone seeing fewer AdWords on the right and hardly any at the top?

Yes, and I though that was odd on Googles part. I doubt it'll be staying this way very long.

jimbeetle




msg:4223925
 3:51 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Whitey from yesterday:
That's my problem , the two types of search experience priorities that need to behave differently in e commerce are :

- mobile - search and dial the business
- desktop - search and interact with the business' website

If you force folks onto their phones , Google may loose the desktop business. If you give users a local experience , they are better off using their phones and ultimately they don't need Google for that.

Yeah, but we know that this is all part of Google's huge move into mobile, coming sometime "this Fall." In fact, I think Marissa Mayer's "Fundamental Shift in Search" line during the Google Instant presentation signals an actual fundamental shift in Google's core mission. I thought this as soon as I finished watching the presentation (and actually mentioned it to tedster the next week).

I think the old "Index all the world's information and make it universally accessible" is out; the new mantra is "Give them what we think they want as fast as we can."

The one thing that stood out in the Instant presentation was that many of the sample searches did not require an actual visit to a website, the answer was in the SERPs. Fast, convenient, no click thrus, perfect for the person on the go. And if you think about it, many of G's search services [google.com] are aimed directly at mobile.

We know that Google dropped a good part of the web from being searchable with the Mayday update. There are many many comments around the web about how difficult it is these days to do research-oriented queries*. Matt Cutts has talked about it as a quality move, which in part it might well be. I see it more as a need for speed move to better serve mobile users, the folks who most likely do not perform such searches.

I do agree that G will lose part of the desktop/research type of business, but I do think this is calculated. They've run the numbers, they believe they know what direction the better part of search is going and they're leaving their old search philosophy behind.

I also think this is a bit more than the local search aspect. One other comment from the Instant presentation that made me take notice was "book title, movie titles, song lyrics are great searches for Google." Wow, not something like the date a famous historic person served in a specific place? That got me to thinking of what Google's user base actually is. We've heard that many folks did not notice Instant at first, and that most folks haven't noticed any changes in the quality of results. I toyed around with a few phrases to describe it. "General" search and "Consumer" search didn't quite fit the bill, nor did any others.

I'm calling it "Lifestyle" search.

*I found it quite ironic when Mayer talked about no longer having to visit a library to do research. Thanks, Marissa, I've had to visit the library twice in the last three weeks because I can no longer use Google to find the information I need. Good thing I have a world-class one within walking distance.

Joshmc




msg:4223992
 6:26 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Interesting thing I am seeing, I'm not 100% this isn't how it normally is, but I am looking at a search term and searching it in different locations by changing my settings, and getting different result sets. I searched with my settings in LA, New York, Seattle, and Florida. Some places had my site in the top ten while others had it on the second page. Not just the place listings but like different organic results as well. Is this normal? Forgive me if I am being ignorant.

tedster




msg:4223993
 6:31 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Joshmc - yes, this has been quite the normal thing for a good while, at least for some queries. It may be more obvious now that we're putting so much attention on Google's new Place Search.

[edited by: tedster at 2:05 am (utc) on Oct 30, 2010]

seohouston




msg:4224032
 7:54 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Guys,

Google will keep this format for a while and then charge the people in Google places on a PPC level. They have been looking for a way to make money on organic for years and they now have found it. They push organic down and Google places takes it place. Brilliant!



Wes

Joshmc




msg:4224047
 8:26 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

@tedster, thank you for letting me know I really appreciate it!

londrum




msg:4224054
 8:46 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

i question the value of that map for a lot of searches. for example, if you enter "new york hotel" you get a map that encompasses 50-square miles with 6 seemingly random hotels on it. maybe they want a 1-star, or 2-star, but there's no way of knowing what they'e looking at until they actually click on one of the pins. it doesnt even give you the name and details of the hotel when you hover over it, they've got to click a pin before they get even the smallest bit of info.

after the click, you get a page with just one AdWords at the top (and an invisible one way down at the bottom, after yove scrolled a few pages down)

why would google be encouraging people to click off a page with 11 AdWords on it, onto a page with just 1?

looks like these place pages must be making more money for them through other means.

Whitey




msg:4224072
 9:30 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

i question the value of that map for a lot of searches. for example, if you enter "new york hotel" you get a map that encompasses 50-square miles with 6 seemingly random hotels on it.


Google has access to as much data as any OTA. All they have to do is apply a search filter on the screen and they'll provide full control of that. The problem is that replacing the first steps that all other meta search business' perform also weakens the capacity to service a) the affiliate model that most OTA's trade between themselves with e.g. airline to hotel, and b ) it can't get down to room level comparison - so will not not be a viable long term solution experience at meta data level.

Whatever Google decide to do here it needs to be an enhanced experience and deliver the $$'s for them.

Moving on to other verticals - they must have the data, so those searches are likely to become more refined.

I think Marissa Mayer's "Fundamental Shift in Search" line during the Google Instant presentation signals an actual fundamental shift in Google's core mission.


Really what's driving all this is the switch to mobile and all the functiionality that can come with it . And i really think that Google has a fight on it's hands morphing from a desktop search to mobile search.

Strange how Microsoft/Bing doesn't appear to be responding. But they were late to the party before.

Clearly strategies that depend on desktop search are in decline. The convenience of the mobile , use of social media and applications is going to rise, and Google will have a smaller slice of this pie than it did of search. All it can do here is buy up applications and and put in a strategy here and one there.

I don't think maps on a local level is providing Google with much advantage. Anyone with a telephone number can participate with it's local Telco alternative more easily and some localised brands are very strong, especially the Yellow Pages - even 10 years down the track of it's virtual extinction , which Telco's covert.

Local search alternatives have strongly resisted Google in newsprint and book directory form - simply because adoption was slow . I do think they have a global fight on their hands here - still , it's a big market.

Just my 2 cents worth.

jimbeetle




msg:4224082
 9:59 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

The more I play with this, the more I find the implementation sucks.

When I click on a map pin, say A, it brings me to G-Maps with the location and the usual information bubble. The sad part is that G still shows the Google maps results in the sidebar -- and of course they don't correspond to the SERPs. The "A" I clicked is in Westchester, the "A" in the sidebar is in Manhattan.

Very confusing. Appears to have been rushed.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4224086
 10:08 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is NOT just for local searches (ie: city name, town name etc).

Type in an appliance type (washer, dryer, fridge etc) plus the word "parts" and places kicks in.

Sell parts online? You're out of luck.

This 149 message thread spans 5 pages: < < 149 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 > >
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