mugsy - 12:34 am on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)
Not trying to get off topic here, but Google Place and local searches aside, today marked an incredible change-up in the SERPS based on my location for virtually all the major keywords I monitor within my vertical. To clarify, this isn't for [tampa computer services] type searches, but simply [computer services]. The results haven't been solely geo-optimized pages (for example, /computer-services/tampa.html), but a mish-mash of top national players, competitors with strong geo-optimized pages, informational sites like Wiki, and maybe some keyword-in-domain type results thrown in here and there. Unfortunately, we don't have the option to turn off our location as Google finds this customization "an important component of a consistent, high-quality search experience." Even if one did have the option to turn their location off, I have doubts that the everyday user would think/care to do so. Unfortunately this all means I'm seeing lackluster rankings for search terms I was once doing very well for and now I have to rethink my approach.
And if you care to know what really threw me for a loop, if the geo-targeted SERPS didn't show up for a given "national" search, the SERP is still that mish-mash of top players, informational sites, and keyword-in-domain type results...an entirely new set of players in the spce which suggests something is going on behind the curtain, at least from my vantage point.
I know this localized organic SERP phenomenom has been brought up as early as April 09, and perhaps it hasn't been rolled out to my vertical and I've been riding the gravy train for a while. However, I couldn't help but find it interesting that this happened on the day that Google Place is rolled out and the importance of localized results has been reiterated. I'm curious if others have dealt with this problem and when it started for them. I'm also curious to know if anyone saw a this happen within their vertical today, along with the Google Places roll out.
Your feedback is appreciated!