|Google's trying an experimental layout of local SERPs|
Google's experimenting with a new layout for keyword SERPs of local queries
So, some bloggers have reported a new experimental layout for Google's regular keyword SERPs for local queries (for instance, queries for "[category name] [cityname]".
Some of the folx at my company have seen these results periodically for certain queries.
Instead of embedding a "7-pack" of local results with map into the search results page, this new beta layout has the local listings sprinkled into the regular results of the page with the map located in the right sidebar and automatically staying within the visible portion of the window when the page is scrolled in the browser.
Anyone else getting these experimental layouts for local searches?
Thoughts on the implications?
Not seeing it from Oz. If I understand correctly, the SERP has results where some are from Google Maps? Do they look different to an organic result?
What were previously the text portions of the 7pack now appear to be interspersed within the regular listings, with a map marker to the left side of them ("A", "B", "C",...). These text listings resemble normal keyword SERP listings, but also have a sort of "Rich Snippet" treatment under them of the address, city, state, and phone number.
The small map with the A, B, C... marker location pinpoints is on the righthand side, above sponsored listings.
(It would be a lot easier to show what we're talking about if links to the blogs were allowed, or if we could upload screencaps...)
I'm the one that originally discovered the new SERPs layout, took the screen shots and broke the story over at the other blog because everyone in the biz reads that one.
Somehow I've been sitting on a special Google datacenter that's doing the testing and I've only found 2 other people that sporadically have seen the new results.
I'm so used to looking at the new format now and have done so much research that I think I can explain it without screen shots. Although you really have to see it the get the full impact.
In a nutshell the map that was top left moves to the top of the right column above Adwords, pushing the paid ads lower down the page. Plus the map scrolls with you, so even when you are at the bottom of page where the organic listings are, the map is right there pointing out where all the top local companies are.
The Local listings are 3 times as big as they used to be AND the top half is just like an organic SERP. Instead of just name (like the local ads currently are), it pulls meta title and description from the site making a more content rich listing - PLUS on top of the full size organic looking listings it also pulls snippets from Places reviews. So it sort of looks like a full organic listing, sitting on top of a places review.
Plus the link to Places is labeled "Place Page" instead of just "more info".
Overall it's a pretty radical change that could make LOCAL a much more important place to be and it pushes organic way down the page.
Oh and ALSO Google just did a local update a few days ago and already started changing the SERPS in ways that make Place Pages MUCH more prominent.
The changes show on ONE box or ONE pack listings right now for everyone. I got a couple new one boxes for some clients a couple days ago and at 1st I was SURE I was seeing the G test server again. But then I found out they did an update and that's the new ONE box layout. It's a pretty radical change and lots of people in the G support forum are upset.
I imagine I can't even give a KW search term that will pull a one box for folks to see?
It's HUGE! A one box with it's adjacent map is about 1/2 the size of a 7 pack. So almost the size of 4 of the current local listings.
But here's the kicker... NO LINK TO WEB SITE. The business name is not linked at all. There is only a link underneath to the "Place Page." They also show hours, full address and a lot more data. So again G is already putting more emphasis on Local and branding Places. I'm pretty excited about all the changes that are coming.
Also FYI, tons of people lost rankings due to tons of reviews being lost during the update. I've seen reports of people who lost more than 50 reviews and are pretty upset. If you lost reviews, the good news is that this often happens during updates and they usually reappear. Many Place owners are reporting their reviews are starting to trickle back in.
One of my coworkers has sporadically received the beta listing treatment, and he's been sharing screengrabs and comparison notes with me.
In one respect, we find it particularly worrisome for small, local businesses because it may reduce the real estate on the page for them. While the unified/integrated listing is larger than the 7pack text listings, if you previously had both a 7pack listing plus a top organic SERP listing, you end up having fewer links and space on the page.
Plus, PPC advertisers get pushed down lower in the sidebar...
Hi Silvery I caught your tweet re this discussion and hi Linda I did see your initial posts & screen shots re the new local SERP.
I haven't been able to replicate any of the beta SERPs here in the UK however I do see the new one box "place page" re-brand which hit us on 9th July... the one box SERP is roughly the same, the map box is the same size as it was, but now there is a non-clickable business name header, a clickable "places-page" link and a map pin to the left of the business name.
I suspected the removal of the hyper-linked business name (anchor text) was on the cards for some months. Analysing many of my clients Google Places stats I could see of all the actions taken by users from a local search only 5-10% of these were a click through to the Google Place Page (using the more info, reviews or write a review links), 90-95% were click direct to the clients business website or landing page.
I always thought Google was missing a trick, with all their promotion and development of the Google Places service, users are just clicking straight to the business website from the SERP, completely by-passing the very page that Google has been at pains to format and standardise so users see relevant local business data for their local search.
Now they have removed this link for one box results and I'm guessing this will be replicated through to the 2 / 3 / 7 packs soon or even when the brand new beta local SERP rolls.