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Google Place Search - Maps now above right hand Adwords column

     
10:27 pm on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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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.
9:15 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think this is going to be damaging to businesses that rely on custom outside of their local area! We hardly do any trade in our local area and rely on other regions where we had good organic places. If I now have 6 or 7 before me in the local area then chances are - we won't get a look in.

Google traffic not great this morning!
9:33 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Can anyone comment on how meta search results might be changing , or is it too early to judge ?
9:37 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Some tests need to be done here...

My business is based in Hampshire (UK). If I search for our business phrase covering a different region "Blue Widgets Surrey" , we appear as a Place listing - 3rd. Now.. if a customer living in Surrey searches for the same phrase, would we still appear as 3rd place to them or would we be replaced by different place listings?
9:39 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm having a mild cardiac event here...

For people like me making a hefty earning on local directories, this is an extinction event.

Surprisingly I'm still showing well in my niche, even above the Google Places in many instances, but how long will that last?

I knew it was inevitable that Google would attempt to exterminate directories eventually, but I didn't see this coming so soon.

The only interesting thing is even with this change, I had one of my highest earning days all month today... very odd.
9:52 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Can anyone comment on how meta search results might be changing , or is it too early to judge ?


what do you mean?
9:59 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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what do you mean?
Have their positions been altered and/or relegated ...

It's worth changing the Google example above to "Chicago Restaurants" to see how the result competes with directories in commercial environments : [google.com...]

They appear to have covered the most popuar options , locality , cuisine type sub links , then it links out.
10:10 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It really varies. I am in Central Europe.
When I search for singular like "city widget" I get mostly just Google Place results.
When I search for plural like "city widgets" I get mixed with 3 Adwords, 3 organics, several Places, then again some organics.
10:53 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have just performed a test with regards to the place listings ..

I did a serch on my keyword phrase "Blue Widgets Surrey".. I then rang someone who is based 130 miles away in a completely different county/region and had them perform the same search. The results were identical with regards to the place listings and our position was the same.
11:13 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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upgrade: massive cardiac event, please bring defibrillator paddles if you see me flatline
11:50 am on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It's really amazing how the whole screen is full of Google content: maps, adwords, search tools, more adwords... everything but websites.

Maybe it's time to move to social networks searching for users.

...or elsewhere. I don't know.
12:27 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm with you incrediBILL. I have a good business of vertical directories and location-based information sites.

Without a word of exaggeration, I feel physically sick looking at the search results on local terms today.

Not only do we not rank - there's nowhere TO rank any more.
12:45 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Just checked a few of our search terms where I know we always rank well - in some cases we are above Places , in others we are, for some reason, in the middle of places.

I am not sure that this design will last as Adwords are below the map - and depending on the height of the map, can push the Adwords down the page.
1:28 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This is the absolute WORST change I've seen on Google - All Adwords customers should be PISSED! If I want MAPS, I'll click on the MAPS links in the top left menu, if I want NEWS, ditto. Why is Google cluttering the serps by bringing all this trash up front? They are beginning to look like a Yahoo start page! FAIL!
1:31 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Is anyone else getting no map options for "town name seo" ?
1:39 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I am not sure that this design will last as Adwords are below the map - and depending on the height of the map, can push the Adwords down the page.


For me this in fact draws my attention to adwords in the right column. When map is not there I would completely ignore that column.
1:53 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the response briggidere, I originally thought I was seeing the normal organic listings, with extra [local] data attached. I swear with every query I try, I'm seeing different things going on regarding organic versus local data.
3:02 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This is strange - try the searches 'London Law Firms' and 'Law Firms London' it gives 2 completely different SERPs.

There seems to be 2 layouts, even for very closely related local searches. One where the map is to the right and the Google Places links go through to the Places page, one where the map is again to the right, but the local results take up much more space and use the homepage title tag and description, as well as giving an option to go through to the place page.
3:03 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The map is just horrible here in Hong Kong with atrocious reviews sources and dodgy data.

I can understand the desire to keep people on a Google property for longer.. use tabs, use some better formating not attrocious fixed div floaty maps which point to dodgy and often outdated info in locations which you cover half heartedly.

(Added: I can see some benefit thought in results where we have the first two positions.... our competitors are pushed even further down the page. This is a godsend for businesses that have setup multiple sites to aim for positions 3 and 4.



)
4:27 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm having a mild cardiac event here...

For people like me making a hefty earning on local directories, this is an extinction event.

Bill, try not to die on us just yet! ;-)

I'm still seeing a couple of top directories at the top of the SERPS for most localized searches in my area. So if you're one of the top directories in your niche, which knowing you I'm sure you are, you may be just fine, providing this doesn't change.

I bet Google still sees value in showing some directories, which may have more extensive info than they can provide in one SERP.
4:35 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I would have thought that this will effect the cpc revenues so much that it will be cancelled soon after it begins. The main problem is that the map blocks views of the paid links and this can't be good for Google. So, my guess is that they are using it as a mis-direction from something bigger and more painful.
4:38 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Spencer, I'm skeptical -- if this adversely affects adwords revenue, they'll probably try to fix that by tweaking the design of the page a bit, rather than by cancelling the whole exercise.

Furthermore, this was probably split tested extensively before being deployed on this scale, so they probably already know exactly how it will affect adwords revenue.
4:52 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a couple of top directories at the top of the SERPS as well. Changing my location and trying different verticals. Directories are not dead yet.
5:06 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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freejung, You're probably right, but where do they put a great hulking lump like that map ? ;-)

They've made changes to the Blog listings too (no map additions yet though). My Blog is rocking with hits today.
5:10 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Doesn't it seem strange that Google would allow the map to block adwords results? I cant understand how that is helpful to them
5:36 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Doesn't it seem strange that Google would allow the map to block adwords results?

On the one hand, yeah, blocking the result will make it less clickable, but on the other hand it draws attention over to that column which might increase the clickthrough rate anyway, despite the blockage.

Interesting side-note: as an adsense publisher, if I were to do something like this it could get me banned from the program. You're not supposed to put drop-down menus, popup boxes, or other stuff over the adsense ads that might either draw false clicks or prevent genuine clicks.
6:11 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Doesn't it seem strange that Google would allow the map to block adwords results?

I'd say it show that Google changes are not as simplistic as we sometimes think. They tested this change since August. They pretty much know what to expect from it, and they have their eye on a far target in Local Search - this is only one step in that direction.
6:14 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The redesign drives attention to local -> Google Place Pages -> Google Places makes G more of a info destination with reviews, maps, etc. (less need to visit . . OMG! . . a website!) -> the more Place Pages are "featured" and the featuring plays on the minds of people "depending on the SERPs" the more that drives business owners to "fill in their places pages" (for fear of not appearing/ranking) . . . the more that "I better do this NOW" thinking lends/adds value/content to the Google Place Pages model . . and, sure, if that has the side effect of knocking out local review sites . . well . .

All this assumes that the world still can't quite figure why it's a good idea to get off the G-traffic-crack . . and how. (I think the "how" may come to people's minds eventually (think "atomization") . . but G, as a traffic souce, tends to put people into a sortof traffic-sourcing sleep state . . and, besides hasn't Google done a good job of discouraging linking . . so how are you supposed to get traffic . . (no "diabolical" irony there.)

I'm not certain how all this will play out in the end. I think there's a chance that local-for-locals-by-locals is a model that can still "own local search", at least at the local level. Think "well done CityWebsiteDotCom, with a directory, local news and reviews, local forums, classifieds, etc.". It could happen. I've kindof been waiting for local news media to find their way, firmly, into the local-geo-portal . . while they still have some money left . .

But the otherwise "thin" geo-local directory? Very interesting times for that model . . especially if your geo-targeted directory looks and feels like the local SERPs regurgitated or simply reconfigured. Dead website walking . . staggering . . ? No Google love for YOU! (Hey, but we'll always have Paris, right? :( )

IBill . . It's probably a good time to have diverse income streams. Maybe it's time for launching a bot blocking app? :P

[edited by: Webwork at 6:28 pm (utc) on Oct 28, 2010]

6:27 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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they have their eye on a far target in Local Search


Based on what I'm observing I think I can see what that far target is. I went and had a look at my client's Google Places listing and noticed that Google are now offering paid links, oops I mean Tags, but you can try it for free for 30 days, after that -- pay up or be lost in search results.

From what I've seen here locally, there are many sites that were previously buried in SERPs that are now showing up as a places link and they were definitely not organic results prior to this change.

Those local businesses will no doubt get more inquiries and when they realize where the sudden influx of business is coming from they will probably gladly pay the ransom Tag money (paid links) to Google to remain there.

Sad day for all the IT workers who have made sincere efforts to always do what was right. As of now, it looks like Google is becoming a paid placement directory for local results complimented with a splash of meaningful content buried deeper for those who will refuse to pay the ransom money.
6:32 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The ONLY way around this is the reinvention - the reincarnation - of the Web "as it once existed": links driving traffic, links as evidence of human review and endorsement of a site's value, links with annexed statement of value about the href, . .

But who wants to do that . . give out links, freely, generously, copiously? I mean, that might . . offend Google, right?

The clock has been ticking for awhile.

Atomize, before you implode.
6:46 pm on Oct 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think the biggest irony of this is G's holier than thou attitude to aggregators. Then what do they go and do? Launch the biggest aggregation of data the consumer web has ever seen.

[edited by: tedster at 10:12 pm (utc) on Oct 28, 2010]

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