|Google organising directory groupings in serps?|
Mod's note: Changed title from "Google organising directories in serps?" to "Google organising directory groupings in serps?"
check out the above, never seen this before, just checked a serp I watch and was given the attached for the first time. Is this google starting to tackle the directories that dominate all local serps these days? Any thoughts? Personally if google can better organise directories in this way I will be happy because the serps are dominated by 10-15 directories in many of he serps I watch
[edited by: aakk9999 at 1:46 pm (utc) on Sep 8, 2013]
Edit reason: Fixed image URL
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:57 pm (utc) on Sep 9, 2013]
[edit reason] Changed thread title [/edit]
Any chance you could post what you searched for? I would love to see this page.
Don't think im allowed to post the search query as per forum terms and conditions m8, sorry! Made the same search this afternoon and its not showing the same result, strange?
In order to have a worthwhile discussion, what we can disclose for this particular example is that the search was made for a particular tradesman profession (e.g. plumber, painter, cleaner, gardener and similar). Tradesmen in these professions would usually have their business listed in local directories.
That would be great, I can;t seem to get this type of page to display. Was it something like Plumbers in Los Angeles?
I sure wish I could see this without all the blackouts or reproduce this. Wonder if just testing overseas? Looks like that's where that screenshot is from.
Assume this must be in response to anti-competition complaints?
@UpOnOne yes that's the sort of search it came up for, I haven't seen it again yet though, maybe they are just testing? The only other note is that one of the directories they moved next to places was still number one also on organics so had even more exposure...
I really hope they sort out the directories problem for local trade men!
aakk9999 asked me to supply some more info in the thread:
It was a UK search google.co.uk, the search was for "Trade in Location", the rest of the SERP still comprised of directories, exactly 8 directories and 1 independent trades man site, one of the directories they had highlighted as an extra search was still organic #1.
2 of the extra directories they highlighted above places were nt and have not had a directory placing on page 1, 2, 3 so I guess you could argue they have added MORE directories to that serp (2).
My naive hope is maybe this is them testing a way to group directories and phase them out from organic first page as im sure matt cutts realises people donít want to search for a local trade and be presented with 9-10 and in some SERPS 15 directories?
Thank you for the info!
Thanks for additional info!
Testing often rolls out like this. One person sees, then 5 reports, then BAM it hits. But this could be UK only in response to anti-competition issues.
<I'm just seeing other examples of this on Google+ >
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:06 pm (utc) on Sep 9, 2013]
[edit reason] removed specific [/edit]
If it comes back and you see it again, could you click the link to "Google Places Results" above the pack and tell me where it goes? (Or possibly that's not new and you've had that link there all along?)
I'm curious if that links goes to the old Places search? I'd love to have Places search back, as it was really helpful to me when doing troubleshooting analysis. Helps to be able to see how low sites rank, and to isolate if there is a ranking penalty on the local side of the house.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:28 pm (utc) on Sep 9, 2013]
Robert Charlton has asked me/given me permission to post the original non-blacked out screen shot of the SERP in question, unfortunately I deleted this BUT I fired up OPERA and did a few random searches of various trades and got lucky (strangely not in IE, Chrome or Firefox, just OPERA). See here.[img853.imageshack.us ] Search was for pain**ter and decora**tor AREA
As you can see you are presented with additional directories not provided in the SERP itself with the exception of yell still ranking at the top as expected across every local SERP I check. The rest of the page is made up of directories with one exception. So you could argue Google has included MORE directories? I donít see yelp or 118 normally returned in any other local SERP (that I watch anyway, only yell out of the 3 new links provided by Google).
When you click on the new directory links provided above places pack they take you to a search page within each site for the same search term as you would expect.
Hope this helps?!
Edit: its now showing up for all searches I make in OPERA so I guess here to stay? [img138.imageshack.us ] I find this SERP interesting, don't think another link is called for?
[edited by: CaptainSalad2 at 7:38 pm (utc) on Sep 9, 2013]
Perfect! Thanks so much. That helps a lot. Just really wanted to see the full context of the page and other listings showed up.
Meant to say earlier too that I am really glad you took the screen shot with that tooltip in it. The other screenshot I saw didn't have it so I would not have known there was one and seeing the wording is helpful.
Thanks, CaptainSalad2. To quote Catalyst, "perfect!"
I'm assuming that you have your default number of results per page set as 10. If so, Google is making several departures from previous results I've seen.
For a few years now, notably since 2010 but I'm sure going back further, Google has been using Local results as a test bed, testing not only the interface, but also user preferences for pages within a site. Google has also been evaluating, on searches with no placename in the query, how much geo-specificity to apply. Additionally, Google results without placename can often be characterized (to quote Greg Boser) as "hyper-local".
Early on, in the mixture of Local 7-pack and organic, Google returned the Local 7-pack results, with a reduced number of purely organic results... say, 3-directories up top of the 7-pack and maybe 2 or 3 below. Depends, of course, on the place. In results your image shows, there are 9 organic results in addition to the Local 7-pack, plus the major local directory search links.
|I don't see yelp or 118 normally returned in any other local SERP (that I watch anyway |
That's an interesting contrast I'm seeing to some local service searches. While 118.com must be big in the UK, it hasn't penetrated in the US to my knowledge at all. And I don't see Yell all that often in my local searches.
Yelp, though, has been dominating local US organic searches, to the point where I've been seeing numerous complaints about it on the forum for a while. On a local service search I monitor, eg, there's a non-profit up at the top, then a 6-pack, and then 5 (five) organic Yelp results and three non-Yelp organic results... 9 organic in all, but over half of them Yelp.
I'm wondering whether Google will adjust the directory choices depending upon how predominant they are in a particular local query.
Ever since the introduction of Universal, Google's been constantly resolving issues of how much exposure to give different types of results. Google's obviously now looking at ways to cluster the results of these popular directories, and this may be either a test or a long-term attempt to do that.
The directory search links expose more sites within a given amount of page real estate, but require an extra click to find Yelp results....
Question: Is this an extra click plus an extra search, or just an extra click?
It doesn't seem to be a bad choice, but it may reduce click-throughs that the directory listings "deserve". Hard for me to say. I know that Google has the numbers, and Google is number driven... and it's trying to maximize user satisfaction on its own site. So I consider this relentless A-B testing.
It should also be noted that Google is showing some localized results (big city hotels, eg), with the Knowledge Graph slider, up at the top. Much harder to get extract "named entities" from geo-associated service providers, so we're unlikely to see service provider carousels for a while.
Yell provides data to google local perhaps this exposure has become part of the agreement. 118 and yelp are big in the UK. They may be there to prevent google appearing unbiased.
From the original post...
|...the serps are dominated by 10-15 directories in many of he serps I watch |
Any evidence that Google is adjusting anything but the top two or three?
>>> Google has also been evaluating, on searches with no place name in the query, how much geo-specificity to apply. Additionally, Google results without place name can often be characterized (to quote Greg Boser) as "hyper-local". <<<<
I see this but google presents incorrect data in my area as I assume they go by postcodes(zipcode)? Example I live in a the centre of an English town but our postcode for whatever reason starts with the postcode of a town 30 minutes away by car (not as big or old as our town). So when I type in example windo* cle**er without adding a town I am presented with a result set of the town 30 mins away by car rather than my town. So google is missing variables?
I also note on google maps, when I type in several counties in the UK the BORDER around them is WAY off, badly in some cases! Example [img560.imageshack.us ] Not sure why they have removed the single biggest city in that county from the county map itself? Maybe the city paid someone to build some dodgy backlinks once? :P
>>>Early on, in the mixture of Local 7-pack and organic, Google returned the Local 7-pack results, with a reduced number of purely organic results... say, 3-directories up top of the 7-pack and maybe 2 or 3 below. Depends, of course, on the place. In results your image shows, there are 9 organic results in addition to the Local 7-pack, plus the major local directory search links.<<<
Mainly I have only ever see the SERPS go down to 7 organic slots (not including places), typically its 9-10. I have seen only 3 organics ones or twice but when I refresh the page it returns 9-10 again.
>>>That's an interesting contrast I'm seeing to some local service searches. While 118.com must be big in the UK, it hasn't penetrated in the US to my knowledge at all. And I don't see Yell all that often in my local searches. <<<
I have never seen yelp or 118 on any local serps I watch, I THOUGHT yelp was Americaís version of YELL and the same company but now im assuming not. 118 is I think a new player to being an online directory (could be wrong) but I have never seen them, they are a direct enquires line that you ring if you want the phone number of a pizza place as example. But again I could be wrong I just donít see them on google myself!
>>>Ever since the introduction of Universal, Google's been constantly resolving issues of how much exposure to give different types of results. Google's obviously now looking at ways to cluster the results of these popular directories, and this may be either a test or a long-term attempt to do that. <<<
Someone mentioned google are doing this because of ant trust issues? But how can this be in YELLís case as they are without fail number 1,2 and sometimes 3 and 4 in EVERY local search I make, since they already have these positions above all others why give them another feature unless google will be phasing them out from organic positions?
IMO directories dominating the entire first page in some instances is a poor user experience and from years of working with local tradesmen I have found they cannot compete with the ďmiddle menĒ companies who use add words to flog the contacts the PPC generate to then sell to the local tradesmen at £45 per contact/lead, which they then have to bid for with 3 other companies that are also charged £45 for the same lead.
When clients have tried to use add words the bids are so high because of these "middle men" sites that their profit margin is less than the costs of the labour and time required to complete the job. My hope is that one day google will give back at least the organics on page one to local tradesmen rather than national directories, but I know realistically small local sites donít have the brand biased google is currently favouring. If you run the same searches on DDG and bing you receive a fairer mix of local sites and directories.
Just going back to one of the exact same searches I did yesterday and posted the screen print for "wind*** cleane*s AREA same shot but today [img27.imageshack.us ]
Today YELL has the first 5 organic slots, (Not unusual although a little higher than normal) and now the new extra link above places.
I went deeper into the SERP than I do normally and YELP is there after all (never saw before) but on page 5 #6.
118 is no where... went to page 11 and no 118 listings.
So a big mark-up for 118 and YELP in the UK. I don't understand why Yell is getting even extra coverage unless there is a rough plan to better organise directories in the future?
This looks like host-crowding. Hope it takes on, as more diversity in the local results would be nice right now.
When dealing with searches for local tradesmen the directories often have different results because many small service providers do not have websites and so list themselves with their address and telephone numbers in local and national directories. Some charge, others allow free entry and make their money from advertising. By definition Google is an index of websites and so the 7 pack results are always traders with a website, and so in some cases represent only a fraction of the relevant traders in the area. It would be nice if Google had the humility to accept that the directories can offer a much better result than they can and that whilst many of the directories have the same result (in the UK most buy (or scrape) their core database from the same supplier) some also have thousands of independent entries. The results I have seen recently don't seem to truly understand this and fail to help the user find a comprehensive list of, for example, all the widget wranglers in Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh.
>>>so the 7 pack results are always traders with a website<<<
Martin I see a lot of Google places listings in the 7 pack of traders who don't have their own websites and just have a places page, im seeing this increasingly at the cost of traders with websites.. I don't think this is the point your making though!