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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 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.

 

Pudders



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 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!

jimbeetle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 1:45 pm on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Delving a bit more into company Place pages I see that two of the external resources Google directs you to for more information are Angie's List and the (supposedly) local BBB.

Unfortunately, Angie's List is paid subscriber only, so that doesn't do a thing for me. And that local BBB page? It's simply a domain squatter!

How the heck does Google think either of those are going to help?

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 9:13 pm on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Surprisingly sites that i watch have thus far held their overall traffic. I have only two conclusions :

- traffic shaping or
- users can't find what they want on these higher results

I totally agree with Londrum/jimbeetle - those results are a major reversal of quality compared to before.

nickreynolds

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 10:50 pm on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

First - it makes the search results look cluttered and confusing.
Second - different but similar searches can bring up a different format of results.
One type has the full organic listing with map flags and picture. Second type has map listings and then organic results, separate.
It seems that the first type means you have to have a website to be listed, the second type seems to mean you can be in the maps list without your own site.

Again Google making a simple job (searching for a local business) more complicated.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 11:51 am on Nov 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

... another thought occurred to me. Google seems to have rolled out a "one - size fit's all " solution that provides for flawed logic.

In the real world there is a difference between the physical location and often the virtual service that supports it. And then there is the separation of delivery and the source of supply. Such is the bricks and mortar solution versus the online solution.

How can Google assume the same solution across all scenarios with the same place search? How can they be so sure of a users intent. Not everyone want's local for service , delivery or supply. Often in an international situation where , for example, pricing is greatly varied the last thing one wants is local. And that's just one aspect.

No doubt there are countless scenarios that webmasters and business' here are encountering that doesn't fit with those place search results.

ponyboy96

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 7:31 pm on Nov 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I saw the new layout for the first time today. All I can say is that I literally felt sick to my stomach. The new layout coupled with the multiple listings for the same site resulted in the result I saw having 3 actual organic listings for separate sites. This is not good at all. Not to mention that the actual results given were terrible. This really reminds me of Yahoo results of about a year ago. If they let this stay the way it is, people will flock to Bing in droves.

jimbeetle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 8:01 pm on Nov 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

If they let this stay the way it is, people will flock to Bing in droves.

That's if people notice it. I was at a client's Monday afternoon to give them a heads up about Places. Out of about 10 or so people on two or three noticed "something different."

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 8:11 pm on Nov 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

its a bit like when you go in the supermarket and they've changed all the shelves around. the bread is where the milk goes and you cant find the biscuits. its annoying, but do we go to the shop down the road? nope. we just have a little moan and carry on shopping.
users will probably do the same with google. bit depressing for us webmasters

nickreynolds

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 12:16 am on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello you people at Google (I know you're out there somewhere). Here's a suggestion for you - it's simple. Divide the results page into three columns. In the middle column put pure unadulterated organic results, not user targeted, not map pins, just basic results. In the right column put your adwords. In the left column put a mashup of maps, local results, usertargeted results and whatever your next silly idea is. Then you can play around as much as you like with your left hand column, while we get on with using what we want in the middle column. Simples!

NickandSara



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 12:41 am on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

its a bit like when you go in the supermarket and they've changed all the shelves around. the bread is where the milk goes and you cant find the biscuits. its annoying, but do we go to the shop down the road? nope. we just have a little moan and carry on shopping.
users will probably do the same with google. bit depressing for us webmasters


The reason supermarkets do this is because it increases sales. People know what they want is in the store even though it has moved so they have to "search" a little harder to find their products. However, whilst searching harder they spot other products they did not actually come in for and then purchase more than they bargained for. Maybe Google imagines that by constantly changing things and confusing people, users may click on more Adwords links.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 12:50 am on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

.... heads up about Places. Out of about 10 or so people on two or three noticed "something different."

What was the overall user behaviour - what did they click on?

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 6:03 am on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

To correct some earlier comments I made about a distinction between Maps results and the organic serps...

...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.

There are in fact organic-sized 7-pack listing for businesses or organizations with Place Pages only... so websites are not required. This also modifies my follow-up comment...

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.

That said, the big difference that does exist between Map results and serps is that Map results don't include organic results (like directories and Map-independent listings). Including such listings in Map results, I feel, would be even more confusing than the current "totally different, unexpected set of results" that jimbeetle described earlier.

Google Map results are often unexpected, but I don't know that the problem is that they're different from the organic serps. More problematic with Local results, I feel, is that you don't know why Google is showing you what they're showing you... and Google is in an awkward position of wanting to keep certain criteria secret to avoid manipulation.

In the case of Maps, it doesn't help the user experience. This may be increasingly true of attempts at personalization as Google moves along. I notice that Amazon (and Pandora) will tell you why they returned certain selections, and both give you feedback options. I can't imagine Google doing this.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 6:13 am on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google Map results are often unexpected


Good point ... i wonder what the rationale is for this usability experience.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 6:17 am on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

i wonder what the rationale is for this usability experience.

They don't want you to know what goes into the secret sauce that they put on the pizza searches.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 6:54 am on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

For a map , now you see it, now you don't , is this good usability experience?

I can't figure how it could be.

jimbeetle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 1:27 pm on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

.... heads up about Places. Out of about 10 or so people on two or three noticed "something different."

What was the overall user behaviour - what did they click on?

That's basically the point, there was just "something different," very vague; they weren't able to voice what it was.

FranticFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 2:26 pm on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I see these changes sticking, because Google is trialling paid ads in Google Maps/Local/Places/Whatever-it's-called-this-week.

I read on Mashable about a week back that Google has already tried a pilot of the paid local placements in San Francsico.

As a few other users have said, this gives them a way to monetise organic SERPS.

In the UK I'm yet to see the hybrid results that Tedster spoke of (i.e. organic results with markers next to those that have 'place' pages). All I'm seeing is 'maps' results displayed normal size. Sometimes the top two results will be traditional organic results.

For most of the niches I watch (local tradesmen and service providers) the 'local' results are choked with spam. A few companies with multiple sites and mobile numbers are flooding the index. One term I saw had eight local listings from the same company. Whatever the algo is for these results, it is an order of magnitude less sophisticated than the traditional organic SERPs.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 9:13 pm on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I see these changes sticking

In the current format ? Across all categories ?

SevenCubed

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 10:24 pm on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

gives them a way to monetize organic SERPS

Agreed 100%, but with a twist. I've already said earlier in this thread that is where it's going. But, just to restate it from a different perspective now that a few others have chimed in that they too notice that, I'll say that they want to monetize the pixel space that was previously occupied by organic SERPS. Not the actual organic results.

For those who have said; "yeah but those tagged results were previously organic results" so it's just enhancing their listing, I say hold onto your hats. Tags are new and mostly unheard of yet. So in the interim until they become the new battleground, well, somebody has to continue to occupy that space, so it may as well be what were previously organic results.

Let's see what it looks like 6 months to a year from now when page one results will be a splash page of paid advertising and true effort results will begin on page 2. Sites that previously were buried in SERPs, and even some businesses that don't have sites, will be lead to the slaughterhouse of advertising and plunk down their bucks for page one paid-links. So, we can always count on the other search engines to not take that route right?! They'll be watching closely and if Google gets away with it then it will be a case of monkey see monkey do. Or as I would prefer to say monkey-mind see monkey-mind do.

I can appreciate any business wanting to earn a profit, it's a necessity. But at what point does the greed stop? A company with the reach of influence such as Google does has a social responsibility to share the prosperity, yes, no? By sharing I mean, leave some space for the little people who try their best to earn and honest day's wages! Googlers, you are obscenely wealthy now, I can hear you breathing through your mouths and can see you drooling, it's disgusting, go away, get out of my face.

FranticFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 6:54 am on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

In the current format ? Across all categories ?

In my view yes. The maps results are here to stay. And I have to say that for users large print and a snippet is more useful than small print and no snippet. It's only been this year that I've seen searches for things like 'pizza' (without location) show me maps results for pizzerias where I live. Local is the future of search - not just for users (with all the mobile geotagging, Foursquare, Facebook Places etc) but for Google too. The more different sets of results they can show the more advertising space there is.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 8:08 am on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Another variant... Place Pages are also appearing prominently in serps for very general (single-word) searches like "electronics" and "computers" that are returning brands, stores, and types as an expansion of related searches. The Place Pages are in the middle of the page-one organic results for such queries.

The local retail stores returned are a mixture of small stores and major-chain retail outlets. See my more detailed description on this thread....

Brands, Stores, Types - Related Searches expand
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4224193.htm [webmasterworld.com]

So, these are here to stay, but I'm thinking Google hasn't completely pinned down the format and perhaps never will.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 12:24 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sevencubed - I'm not sure Google feels any genuine obligation other than to the shareholders. Imagine how you would feel right now if you made your living from any form of directory either on or off the web. One thing about this new layout, its pretty hard to spam your way over a range of local results which is not a bad thing. If a business is invested in bricks and mortar, staff, lease, stock and so on I have no problem seeing them ranking for local results. From what I can see so far we've not suffered from a loss of traffic post update on any of our sites.

SevenCubed

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 12:57 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure Google feels any genuine obligation other than to the shareholders


I could go on and on about the shareholder myth. Don't be fooled by the shareholder spin. Public companies like Google care very little about shareholders, especially the common share holders. The preferred share holders get their returns through dividends, usually quarterly, and it's only slightly higher than the going rate for a savings account because there is little risk. Whereas common share holders forsake dividend payouts in favour of expected long term appreciation of the value of their shares. It's only bond holders that have their debt secured. The stock market is only a secondary market and isn't a true reflection of the actual net worth of a company. It's an artificial relative paper value not a real tangible asset.

Whether it's a boardroom crowd wearing suits and ties, with MBA's sipping champagne or a bunch of guys sitting around a poker table in t-shirts drinking beer, it's all the same. They are gamblers. But at least the poker players are putting their own money on the table whereas the "elite" are playing with other people's money, with their own personal gain at the forefront of their mind.

so far we've not suffered from a loss of traffic

That's why I've pointed out that I wouldn't expect to see a difference until about 6 months to a year from now if this sticks.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 6:00 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

My guess is that its only a matter of time before the top places in those local results will be up for sale, if I were looking at the best way to monetize the space then that is exactly the way I would go about it. If it's then integrated into adwords in a nice easy way the returns will be almost instant and large, this will be an interesting space to watch over the next few months.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 7:22 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

From what I can see so far we've not suffered from a loss of traffic post update on any of our sites.

I agree , from what i monitor, no loss of overall traffic , but clearly if "Place Search" is shifting top positions to the bottom of the SERP's , Google must be compensating those sites with other traffic. Are they doing it to assist sites with the transition - no sudden shocks ?

Am i right ? or wrong ? What are others seeing. - Is Google traffic shaping more referrals into effected sites ? ( aka Google throttling )

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 7:58 am on Nov 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Think about the easiest path to free money you can, content & links, rinse and repeat. This new "factor" nukes a big part of that equation, its got some seriously good in built anti spam properties.

FranticFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 2:09 pm on Nov 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Since the advent of maps one site will have a very tough time ranking for multiple location based searches, and that is an improvement as far as cutting out spam - 'web design + my town' being a notable example. It does also make being a middle man for location based service searches more difficult - perhaps impossible. Google won't lose any sleep about that. However the maps results are by no means harder to spam.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 9:13 pm on Nov 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is anyone seeing reports involving hard data on how to strategically handle the impact from this change , or is it still too early to make any calls?

More sites will be chasing the top three positions and aggregators of data ( directories and affiliates ) will find it harder to rank against business owners. Google appears to be moving towards superceding these with control over the data from their own sources.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4223031 posted 12:48 am on Dec 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Something for future strategies to consider that will strengthen the direct relationship Google has with business' in place search : [webmasterworld.com...] with the potential acquistion of Groupon.

Another monumental signal from Google that demonstrates where it's relationship with local listings is headed. Place Search looks like a perfect fit in time.

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