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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.

 

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.

Whitey




msg:4224089
 10:15 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Interesting. Buy local - support your local business. This is too forceful and is screwing the desktop. What's the point of having a desktop application dominated by this.

anallawalla




msg:4224159
 2:53 am on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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


Not my experience here in Australia for "washing machine parts". Among the organic results I see eBay in the top 10, shopping comparison sites and lots of directories in addition to the brands.

Lexur




msg:4224187
 7:10 am on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

So... Google really thinks online business are dead and it's time for brick and mortar business?
Why could an online company like Google kill the online seller parts business and give advantage to the local store wich barely uses Internet?

Someone could tell me that online retailers can have visibility trough Adwords, but IMHO Adwords itself it's not a business model for online business (you can use it to promote your new business or to gain new customers but the common mortals can't do serious business with Adwords).

Total Paranoia




msg:4224215
 9:54 am on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I found quite a big flaw with this on high resolution sets that I guess Google has missed. I am running on 1280 x 1024 and the map on the right of the page scrolls down as you move down the page and covers all the adwords! Am sure Google would not want to upset its advertisers. Anyone else seeing this?

idolw




msg:4224232
 2:03 pm on Oct 30, 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.


This is just a matter of time. They bought ITA software in June and HomeAway just a few days ago. Once the transaction gets approved they'll ad a search panel to enter dates and allow filters like meta search sites do. Go to google product search to see it.

Theny they'll allow OTAs to pay them increased CPC for a few years and introduce calendars to hotels and restaurants so everything goes through Google Checkout.

And then you can simply have Google Money which will allow you to easily pay via your Android phone :)

tedster




msg:4224240
 2:51 pm on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

scrolls down as you move down the page and covers all the adwords! Am sure Google would not want to upset its advertisers. Anyone else seeing this?

Yes, this is the way the new layout works. Very interesting, isn't it?

dertyfern




msg:4224278
 5:39 pm on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing results revert back to the old interface here in UK now.

jimbeetle




msg:4224284
 6:03 pm on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing results revert back to the old interface here in UK now.

Is that for *exactly* the same terms? There really is a bit of hit and miss in how Google is determining whether a query brings up places:

[ pluralsearchterm ] > Yep, places.

[ singularsearchterm ] > Nope, organic plus 1 map result, no places, no 7-pack.

And other simple searches I've played with over the past couple of days also appear to be erratic. Sometimes places, sometimes not; sometimes 7-packs, other times not; sometimes images, sometimes not.

Edit: Had pural & singular terms switched.

incrediBILL




msg:4224349
 10:44 pm on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing results revert back to the old interface here in UK now.


I'm not sure they're reverting back as I'm in the US and I'm seeing both.

I see them one day, not the next, then I see them again, so on and so forth.

So maybe it's a) random testing, or maybe it's b) only being tested on certain data centers or maybe it's c) slowly rolling out wide and simply isn't in all data centers yet.

Only time will tell.

anallawalla




msg:4224353
 10:59 pm on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, I think that Google is still making up its mind and is playing with various layouts. I am not seeing the floating map anymore. I see a lot of the stepped onebox results at the top and the map at the top right. I also see the previous onebox with the map on the top left.

But, wait for it.

A SERP with 5 Organic Results!

Yes, google.com.au is presently showing just five organic results for "byron bay accommodation" below the "fat" Place Search entries. This is a very competitive travel term, so there is no lack of relevant search inventory.

tedster




msg:4224380
 1:37 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

The Byron Bay example shows exactly what I've been trying to say. Even those top results are still ranked organically. They just have their Google Places tag added to a regular listing, making a kind of hybrid blend.

1. The click-through URL still goes to the website
2. The title text is still from the website's title
3. The snippet still comes from the meta description

I think a lot of us see the big red tag and assume that means it's not an organic result. But that's not the way it looks to me.

Whitey




msg:4224381
 1:39 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

From a users perspective, that look like an inadequate result anallawalla - and I'm seeing bigger places like Los Angeles dishing up a handful of irrelvant place offerings , when a user is better provided with comparison / filtering to cover the vastness of options. But i think it's only the start per what idolw is saying [ i think this is spot on . See Homeaway [bits.blogs.nytimes.com...] ].

But where does that put comparison sites that basically dish up the same results or results than can be pushed through Google. Here's my short list to provoke the thinking :

- real estate
- travel [ hotels , car rental ]
- autos/ cars for sale
- local products
- local trades services [ electricians , builders , plumbers ]

Some of these totally underpin the cash flows and profits of major online business' . I wonder how quickly there will be a knock on reaction from the big players like the Telcos and Localised business' like local newspaper websites with classifieds in them. I also wonder how much this put's a dent in major players like Ebay's sense of control.

tedster




msg:4224390
 2:09 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know of several niches where the big players were all over this change, even back in august when it was just a small scale test. The thing is, it's still not clear what queries will trigger this hybrid results page - and that will probably be evolving.

What is clear is that this is a kick in the pants to get your Places pages sorted. Also interesting that the initial SERP does not show any specific reviews. Given the amount of gaming that goes on around reviews, that's pretty considerate.

Whitey




msg:4224394
 3:05 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

the big players were all over this change


...can you elaborate on this

tedster




msg:4224397
 3:14 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know of several large "big name" enterprises who had been relatively casual about their approach to Local Search. When their web teams saw the mentions and screenshots of these new hybrid SERPs last August, they began immediately to ensure that they had accurate Place pages set up for every location where they had a physical presence.

Even though the SERP is a hybrid of organic and a Google Place where it exists, having the red Place tag by your listing is too big an eye magnet to ignore.

Think of how many locations most enterprises have around the county or the world. Making sure that you have those Place pages accurately set up, with a clear description of exactly what you offer in that location will be a big deal going forward.

corepartner




msg:4224407
 3:35 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

In the starting I liked this change as I found it very useful for the end user e.g if any user search for "Hotels in Delhi" before he gets MFA sites which are listing few hotels but after this change the user is getting the list of all the hotels which has places page.

But, the problem with these results are that they are so irrelevant and don't make sense at most of the time.

For example today I have made a search for "online marketing products and services" google showed me the results of 1. online data entry company 2. sauna belt (#*$!) 3. online promotion company

google only showed 3 places result for this query and 2 are wildly irrelevant. MY LOCATION DELHI, INDIA.

I never use bing & yahoo but just before writing this post, I was searching for a wordpress plugin which will show custom related post in the sidebar and I tried lots of keyword modifiers but didn't get any relevant result.

After trying almost 30 min I have visited yahoo and type "custom related post plugin" and I got what I wanted on the 1st result.

Google is not the best search engine now according to the relevancy.

Whitey




msg:4224412
 3:43 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Think of how many locations most enterprises have around the county or the world. Making sure that you have those Place pages accurately set up, with a clear description of exactly what you offer in that location will be a big deal going forward.


This says a lot about Google's intent. So if you're not brick's and mortar, how do you see other online major players dealing with this challenge ?

btw - a category i look at regularily frustrates the heck out of me, because the address' have been hijacked, so badly probably more than 50% of the places are inaccurate or deceiving.

kidder




msg:4224426
 5:00 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm trying to stay objective here, I've been looking at real estate here in AU for years now and one big site dominates or did dominate the local listings, from a users perspective it was a good search result but probably not the best result. Now we are seeing a major shift away from this I think in this example if I'm honest about it the results work much better for the end users and the local businesses. I think local business has a pretty legit claim on the search space if they can get it right.

kidder




msg:4224430
 5:04 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

.......and think about the next step, charging local business for the top positions once the users are educated and clicking away madly on these new results. Ka-ching $$$$$

tedster




msg:4224583
 5:29 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think Google still needs to collect the data about what queries should get this kind of results page - and if things go as they have in the past, the users will vote with their clicks and Google will learn when it makes users happy and when it doesn't.

jimbeetle




msg:4224621
 6:51 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think Google still needs to collect the data about what queries should get this kind of results page

That's what I find a bit a bit weird about this change, it seems a bit rushed. If many of us are finding it a bit confusing as to what appears when, then imagine what a general user must think. (But then again, I haven't heard any comments at all from folks. Another Google change gone unnoticed by the general public?)

My biggest problem with the implementation is the total disconnect between the Places results and then, after you click thru on the map, the local map results. I realize that this is currently a totally different product, but it just cannot be any longer. It's just much too confusing to see one set of map results on the SERPs and another on maps. I understand why, does the general user?

Robert Charlton




msg:4224635
 8:07 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Perhaps mentioned already... in the layouts where Google is showing organic-sized listings for the 7-pack, it is not showing sites with Place Pages only. Ie, to appear in the organic listings (as opposed to the Map listings), from the results I've seen, anyway, a local business must have a website.

If you search for the business specifically, though, and it doesn't have a website, its Place Page and a small onebox map listing will appear at the top of the organic serp.

Also, in the organic listings, Google is treating Yahoo Local category pages apparently as any other directory, and local.yahoo.com category pages are appearing.

I don't believe that Google has similarly organized its own Place Pages into categories. (You could easily argue, of course, that Google doesn't have to, since each of the 7-pack results does have link to a Place Page that lists related or nearby results).

This might indicate to me that directories with sufficient branding and/or organic authority do have a shot at getting listed in these searches, as long as their local pages look like dedicated pages rather than internal search results.

It's just much too confusing to see one set of map results on the SERPs and another on maps.

I don't see how Google could easily resolve the differences. In the Google Map listings, it's not necessary for local business to have websites... whereas in the organic listings, at least for now, it is.

Also, the map listings currently don't show directory sites. They are brick and mortar (or maildrop) only.

jimbeetle




msg:4224651
 8:37 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't see how Google could easily resolve the differences.

Simply don't bring the user to a totally different, unexpected set of results. Put a little bit of work into it and bring them to a "Places" Map, with the same result set as the SERP.

The current integration simply does not serve the user.

londrum




msg:4224656
 9:05 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

i dont think this new thing is going to go anywhere. it's not going to kill our sites. think about it... all they are doing is stuff that other sites do ten times better.

if i want a hotel in new york i can go to google and get one map with six hotels on it and next to no info. even if i click through to a place page all i'm getting is the basic address, map, 1 picture and a few snipped reviews. i cant check availability. i cant do nothing.

ok, so i can put in a date and get a few prices, but it's useless -- it doesn't even ask what room type i want. i cant compare different hotels like i can on other sites, because there's only one hotel showing. comparing different hotels would take ten times longer on google because you have to go in and out of each page.

on the other hand, i can go to a site like expedia, or hotels.com and get everything google's got but 100 times better. more photos, prices, availability, complete reviews, facilities... everything.

what is google aiming at here? they are hoping that we're going to decide which hotel we want at google, and then click through to the provider to buy it. but what is tempting us to do that? nothing. because the provider's sites have 100 times more info. we may as well just go straight to them.

it's like asking someone to browse through a flimsy 5-page catalogue every time they go to the shops. whats the point? they may as well just go straight to the shops.

people aren't going to plan their holiday on google. they will check it out once, maybe, and then do their proper planning and booking on the same sites as before.

jimbeetle




msg:4224659
 9:21 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

what is google aiming at here?

The simple, near term answer, I think, is the mobile market. Fast, easy to use, not too much information to digest.

For the possible longer term it's been supposed by others to watch for a push into major verticals and a general takeover of the web ;-)

Whitey




msg:4224666
 9:35 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

near term answer, I think, is the mobile market


Definitely , and in doing so it's messed up the desktop results. Londrum is spot on with his analysis until google introduces filters.

btw - the founder of Google Maps has quit to join Facebook [webmasterworld.com...] which might say a lot for what he thinks are greater opportunities.

kidder




msg:4224688
 11:32 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Londrom I agree with what your saying but I think the intent of Google is more than just a little bit disturbing.

Pudders




msg:4224757
 7:38 am on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ok - So we now have to deal with "Places" - How does Google determine A,B,C,D pointer positions? I presume this is not just based on the info in your "places" description, but also on how well optimized the site is based on your organic position!

londrum




msg:4224791
 10:23 am on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

i think the maps must draw heavily on who's signed up to google's business directory, because the relevancy of their results are much, much worse than the serps. it's almost like google hasn't got a deep enough well to draw from.

to take one example, do a search for "new york tourist attractions". the serps are good. they are full of sites that you can imagine people clicking. but the list of pins above the serps contain things like the "new york city police museum", "federal national memorial" and "african burial ground".

these kind of sites would never appear at the top of the normal serps. they have hijacked page 1 because they've signed up to google's places thing.

Pudders




msg:4224792
 10:31 am on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ Londrum.. I do see that. We have a places listing and have had for a couple of years. In fact, a lot of our rival businesses all have place lisitngs but they do seem to rank in the same sort of order as before... appart from those not registered in "Places"!

Our two main rivals listed in poisitions 1 & 2 for organic lisiting before the change over. They both do not have a places lisiting but still appear number 1 & 2 as an organic link with all the other place lisitngs below them .... like it was before!

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