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An observation with regards to Google universal - wanting confirmation

Msg#: 4601314 posted 4:09 pm on Aug 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,
Maybe this is already a knowledge so forgive me if I am ignorant. Here is a description of my observation.

We have been ranking at the top of Google organic result for a keyword widget, with no location reference. What happened is that we would take up top 2 positions. I understand that this is clustered results, where the page that ranked No.2 is only "pulled up" to the position by the page that ranked No1. The true worthy position of the page was probably somewhere at the bottom of the page 1 result.

A few months back, Google started to display local listings for this keyword. What then happened is that our local listing (linking to home page) ranked No1 in the local result, but the home page disappeared from the natural result. The page that used to rank No.2 now dropped to either the bottom of page 1 or somewhere on page 2.

Please note that this local listing is a special type, because our structured data markup, such as review stars, Google+ circle number etc all displayed in the local listing, even the author photo.

My question is, is it correct to assume that the reason the home page no longer appears in the natural result was because the home page appears in the local listing? Do you have observations that proved the opposite?



WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4601314 posted 6:13 pm on Aug 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

My question is, is it correct to assume that the reason the home page no longer appears in the natural result was because the home page appears in the local listing? Do you have observations that proved the opposite?

Yes, I have observed the same. I also observed that it is not "constant" and that over a period of month or so it can fluctuate between the "old" type of SERPs listing (as the one you described first in your post) to the "local" listing display mode.

And an observation - CTR always drops when we are in the "local listing" display mode.


Msg#: 4601314 posted 11:52 am on Aug 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi aakk9999, thank you for the response.

You have described it nicely and yes, what you have added is what I had seen as well. This suggests that it is not that Google has discovered anything bad on our site (thin content or bad links), it is this change that has resulted in the inner page relying on its own to rank in the natural result, when the home page is taken out of equation.

Our inner page is too weak to compete for the top spot and we need to work on that.

Congratulations by the way and thank you in advance for your contribution to the board.

Also to add that it seems the fluctuations between natural listing style and local listing style have been less frequent in the last couple of months. Looks like the local listing style is here to stay...


WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member

Msg#: 4601314 posted 12:38 pm on Aug 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think you are approaching it in the right way as I have not seen yet an inner page showing with Google Places (where inner pages do not target a different brick and mortar businness). So having a stronger inner page that ranks higher up or even #1 would be the solution for this problem.

Joining up lower entries on the same SERP page a higher (normal) organic SERP entry has been around for a while. The easiest way to test this is to run a query for a num=100 results and you can then often see many entries being grouped together as it would group all entries for the same domain that appear in the first 100 listings.

If you ever get two (ordinary, not places) SERPs entries on the top and want to see where the REAL position of the second entry would be on the page, all you have to do is to keep repeating the query and reducing the number of results per page by adding num=9 in search URL then num=8 in search URL and so on. At the point where the SERPs shows only ONE of your entries, then the real position in SERPs would be num+1.

E.g. if your second result is really in position 7 then query with num=7 would still show your top 2 results, but the query with num=6 in URL would show only ONE of your results as your entry that is #7 would now be on the second page and hence could not be joined up. This is the way you can find your 'real' position for the second entry.

From the above you can see that one can employ the strategy that, if you have an entry on page 1 in position 1 and another on page 2 position 2 (12 in total), pushing your second entry for only 2 places would bring it to the first page and would result in you straight away having first two places as it would be 'joined' to your entry that is on #1.

Of course, this strategy may work only whilst Google is grouping entries on the page and I noticed this is not done always and for all queries.

And thank you on congratulations :)


Msg#: 4601314 posted 3:30 pm on Aug 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Clear as crystal, thank you :)


Msg#: 4601314 posted 8:46 am on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just to follow this post up, we have found in our niche that:
1. More and more keywords are displaying the local listings
2. On every SERP, the local listings were inserted after the 3rd organic listing
3. When we are displayed in the local listing, actually for all the domains that are listed in the local, we are not found in the top 3 organic listings.

I am keen to know if you have found the same thing. This is critical because this could well be a factor in the algo: since a site has already taken a place in the local listings (guaranteed first page result and above all 5 - 10 results, they should not take a spot in the top 3 organic results).

I am finding some sites who have never been on page one now taking up the 2nd and 3rd place while they are not in the local listings If this is the case, it might have explained why we lost a dozen top positions which are replaced by the top position in the local listings. We are always at position No. 4 on the SERP, which is annoying. If this is true, in a way Google is punishing us for having a local page.

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