Google Places New Look?

by Dr Dan
91 replies
I was just checking my clients ranking for their business and noticed the new look of Google Places. What do you guys think?

I personally like the old look and hope they change it back to the 7 box.

#google #google map #google maps #google places #google places seo #places
  • Profile picture of the author Zach
    What changed? My accounts look the same.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    Weird. I test Google Chrome and Safari and both are still the old layout with the 7 box. Seems Firefox is the only one that changed.

    I am on a mac so I dont have IE to test it out.
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  • Profile picture of the author newbie2011
    I also notice that the latest version of google earth do not offer high resolution & close image.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    Ok this is weird? I just tested it on IE on my daughters laptop and the 7 box is the old way. I then checked it again on firefox with the same PC and it is still old style 7 box?

    So either it was just a quick test or it was specific to mac running firefox only?
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  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    Making all map results "pay to play" doesn't make much sense. They already have adwords where local companies advertise...

    if you allow all local businesses bid against each other, then the "locality" of those businesses is not in viewers/searchers best interests. It kinda misses the point. It's like another yellow pages. I don't think they want to go there.

    I think we might see a hybrid approach, where paid inclusions have their own space, just like with other directories.

    Relevance and social aspect is where Google wants to be and the paid yellowpages model is not it.

    We will see.


    Thomas
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    • Profile picture of the author jsherloc
      Sir Thomas,

      That is what I mean, when i mention the "pay to play" model. I mean, the companies that pay/bid on a exclusive ad spaces within the search results. I agree, they can't really FORCE all businesses to pay to show up top, but compare it to the way their PPC model has evolved as well.

      Realistically, with adwords, in a competitive market, the more money you have to spend, the more exposure you are getting.

      I'm just worried if they go this hybrid-type route, even optimizing for google places (and going for locality / social relevance) will become less of a factor soon, as they will just open a "tagged exclusive area" for the high paying advertisers. and further push the map "organics" and the regular "organics" farther down. Google is not dumb and sees all of these vertical directories/ad companies/local seo's banking off their own "common local algorythm traits", why not cut these people outta the picture and just collect the money directly from the biz owners that want to swipe their credit card in Places right then and there? "For only $500 a month you will get a space in our BIG 3 LOCAL RESULTS ABOVE THE REGULAR LISTINGS,..." etc.

      I hope I'm wrong.

      - Jim

      note: The reason it might be isolated to FF is because Google and Mozilla are connected for testing purposes, even though Google has since moved on to their own project, Chrome.


      Originally Posted by SirThomas View Post

      Making all map results "pay to play" doesn't make much sense. They already have adwords where local companies advertise...

      if you allow all local businesses bid against each other, then the "locality" of those businesses is not in viewers/searchers best interests. It kinda misses the point. It's like another yellow pages. I don't think they want to go there.

      I think we might see a hybrid approach, where paid inclusions have their own space, just like with other directories.

      Relevance and social aspect is where Google wants to be and the paid yellowpages model is not it.

      We will see.


      Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author Digital Traffic
    I noticed the same thing in my market about three weeks ago, the next day, it was back to normal.

    Some testing going on for sure.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
      Originally Posted by Digital Traffic View Post

      I noticed the same thing in my market about three weeks ago, the next day, it was back to normal.

      Some testing going on for sure.

      Yea it was last night I noticed it. I actually started this thread right after I noticed the change. This morning I check with my daughter PC using IE and it was the old 7 box style and just now I checked firefox using my mac and its back to the old style again. So they must be testing some stuff out or something?
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  • Profile picture of the author nikespecial
    Banned
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  • Profile picture of the author Chad Heffelfinger
    I still have not seen the new design, but someone on the main forum about a month ago brought it up after seeing it, but same thing, then it was gone.

    Google is always changing the way things work, that's what they do. They don't want people gaming the system, they want to be in control of where stuff shows up and how. Who knows if it will stay free or go to paid in some way, but no matter what they decide it will always be changing and advancing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Supafly
    Testing.

    Google frequently tinkers with listings as it develops its places pages. Has been going on for years and they will pick different areas and categories to test from time to time. It doesn't mean it will be a permanent change, but it can lead to it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimian
    Google Places is constantly in a motion of testing and change -- some smal changesl, some major. And from what I've read, it'll continue. What may work for placing listings today, could differ in a month or two.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    Its back again.

    I really dont like the new look since it takes almost the whole first page and the map follows you down as you scroll the page. But I can see how it will better help customers find local businesses that they are looking for.

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  • Profile picture of the author Ryan Steinolfson
    Wow this just blows my mind. Just when I thought I had a sweet way to make some bank from local business owners.

    It looks like things are ever changing.
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    • Profile picture of the author thedigitalshopper
      Hi
      What changed? My accounts look the same. Tell me what changes in google places.

      Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author Riz
      You can still make bank. As Internet Marketers we can adapt fairly easily to change

      Originally Posted by Ryan Steinolfson View Post

      Wow this just blows my mind. Just when I thought I had a sweet way to make some bank from local business owners.

      It looks like things are ever changing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Riz
      Haven't seen this setup yet in the uk. I'm assuming Google is only testing in a few select US cities.

      From the screenshots i hate the new setup.

      1) As consultants we will have to figure out the new ways to rank. It looks like businesses have to have a well optimised web site to go hand in hand with a well optimised places listing or they may lose their rank.

      2) From Googles perspective they will lose ad revenue. With the map scrolling down the sponsored links will get less and less clicks.

      3) From a users perspective - visually not very appealing but can give more information on a business immediately.

      4) From a businesses perspective - it can be good or bad. Good if you rank well and have good reviews. Bad if you don't have all good reviews and the review being shown on page 1 is a bad one. What are the chances of being called by a perspective customer if the review directly under the business map listing is a poor one?

      Riz
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      • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
        Originally Posted by Riz View Post

        Haven't seen this setup yet in the uk. I'm assuming Google is only testing in a few select US cities.

        From the screenshots i hate the new setup.

        1) As consultants we will have to figure out the new ways to rank. It looks like businesses have to have a well optimised web site to go hand in hand with a well optimised places listing they may lose their rank.

        2) From Googles perspective they will lose ad revenue. With the map scrolling down the sponsored links will get less and less clicks.

        3) From a users perspective - visually not very appealing but can give more information on a business immediately.

        4) From a businesses perspective - it can be good or bad. Good if you rank well and have good reviews. Bad if you don't have all good reviews and the review being shown on page 1 is a bad one. What are the chances of being called by a perspective customer if the review directly under the business map listing is a poor one?

        Riz
        That was also my first impression! For guys offering "reputation marketing" services, that could be a new "closing" feature... :-)


        Thomas


        PS Overall, very messy and confusing set up.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    This is pretty weird because I used my wifes mac running the same version firefox, and hers is showing the old 7 box and when I do a search on my macbook pro with firefox it is the new style? We both have instant results enabled. Not sure whey our is different?
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    • Profile picture of the author Riz
      Perhaps a cookie

      Originally Posted by rockstarinlife View Post

      This is pretty weird because I used my wifes mac running the same version firefox, and hers is showing the old 7 box and when I do a search on my macbook pro with firefox it is the new style? We both have instant results enabled. Not sure whey our is different?
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      • It's sporadic testing.

        I was the 1st one to break the story about it over at Blumenthals blog back in July. There is a big story and lots of commentary there. For awhile it seemed I was the only one sitting on the testing data center and no one else could see it.

        I gave Mike lots of screen shots and did a whole analysis of the differences and the impact this could have if it goes live. And then Google sent a PR person over to reassure everyone it was only a test. :rolleyes:

        Since then, lots of people have been seeing it and have blogged it. But the testing never stays in one place for long.

        Would be interesting to see what happens if it goes live.

        However the new ONE Box format HAS gone live and I think that proves Google is def headed toward giving Places lots more visibility.
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        • Profile picture of the author adriver38
          So Im seeing this in my area now too. Anyone else? Looks like it may be official starting today according to the blog from the above post.
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  • Profile picture of the author refbois
    I saw a commercial on tv about these changes.
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  • Profile picture of the author sarafina
    This is official.

    Implications?

    Local seo died overnight. What good is 1st page of google when you're at the bottom of the page with organic.

    Well at least you can charge your clients more for google maps listings now.
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    • Profile picture of the author adriver38
      Ugh, Im wondering the same thing. I see the client I ranked in maps for #3 is now #2 which is good but I have a feeling as a whole this isnt going to be good for us. Seems like its based on a algorithm thats some combination of the old google maps and organic seo on the businesses website.

      Not sure if its still because of glitches being worked out or whatever but some local searches are being displayed differently than others. For example...."restaurants city" shows an almost "7 pack" like display with the top 7 results being at the very top of the page while "hair salons city" results are all spread out and you have to scroll all the way down the page to view all the top 7 results.
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    • Profile picture of the author adriver38
      Thanks Danny

      Looks like theres still technically a "7 Pack" for now. So whats everyones game plan for ranking in Google Places now...Carry on as usual by claiming the listing, relevant citations and building it out as much as possible? Hope for the best?
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  • Profile picture of the author Pete Egeler
    Re: "New" layout. I've had it for quite some time. Just click on the lead headline above the maps, and it clicks over to the view you're used to.

    Pete
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    • Profile picture of the author adriver38
      Hmm, not sure what you mean "lead headline above the maps. I cant find anything above the map in my search? The map is on the right hand side now for local searches and its a permanent change according to google. No going back to the old look Im afraid.
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        • It's still flip flopping and changing and will for awhile until it finishes rolling out everywhere. Some people are seeing it in Chrome so try that.

          I blogged about some of the issues earlier today but am still trying to digest everything.

          FOR ALL YOU LOCAL SEOs - one of the big changes that's concerning me... The ranking has drastically changed and the local algo we all grew to know and love is now gone. (Or at least changed beyond recognition.)

          There is no more separate local algo and organic algo - they are ONE!
          At least that's the way it appears so far and that's what Google officially stated, I think it was at SEL.

          Do some test results using the testing site Google links to at the bottom of their blog. If you HAD clients in the 7 pack BUT they don't have a page one organic ranking, they'll probably fall off page one in local.

          But it can work the other direction too. One of my new clients who had 0 reviews was like #50 for his main KW in the old local results. In the new results he's #1 because I optimized him well for local AND he had a top organic ranking.

          I just sent an email to all my clients, pointing them to my blog post so they are aware of what's coming. I also warned them there could be all kinds of bugs, lost reviews, ranking drops and who knows what other problems and told them we just need to wait til the dust settles.
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  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    and the company's name is no longer relevant to the search...just as "envisioned" :-)

    In other words, you can call your company Seattle Mental Implants, then optimize your company's website (www) for "seattle dental implants" and rank very well in local searches.

    It seems as you don't have to worry about your client's company name not being "seach friendly" any more... As long as you provide a proper SEO for their website, they will be fine.

    In reality, you can only see a company name, when you click on "place" link or the title of the listing, which will take you to their site... cool!


    Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author Lukas
    Google Places - Google maps used to ONLY show local search results for terms like "cosmetic surgery nj" or "plumbers dallas" "house painters los angeles" now has real local business websites, phone (yup you need this) with reviews instead of bigger comprehensive websites showing first. They are pretty obvious with the little red balloon and displaying 2 or more reviews.

    It seems like they are shooting themselves in the foot since it competes with the PPC ads, I'd personally be much more interested in these "places" sites than Adwords. By having more impressions on company's PPC ads their quality score will go down thereby increasing their CPC? is that true?

    They will probably revert back and put a link at the top of organic searches or more prominent on the left. And they will make us want local kw domains even more now. Google voice will start to blow up too, u think they will charge in the future.
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    • Profile picture of the author adriver38
      Linda, fabulous blog! I was kinda freaking out last night about the changes and what it meant for local seo and your blog was such a great help. You had a bunch of resources plus your own thoughts.
      Thanks for keeping a girl sane

      I think this means Im going to have to change some things on my website. I definitely think having a well optimized website will be a factor in getting onto the first page as a local listing. What does this mean for business owners without websites though? Do they have no chance now? So many questions...
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      • Profile picture of the author jr1228
        Originally Posted by adriver38 View Post

        Linda, fabulous blog! I was kinda freaking out last night about the changes and what it meant for local seo and your blog was such a great help. You had a bunch of resources plus your own thoughts.
        Thanks for keeping a girl sane

        I think this means Im going to have to change some things on my website. I definitely think having a well optimized website will be a factor in getting onto the first page as a local listing. What does this mean for business owners without websites though? Do they have no chance now? So many questions...
        You and me both! I had a hard time sleeping last night because I was so worried about how this would impact my local SEO business. However, it now looks like this will be a positive for me -- businesses that thought they could get away with a claimed Google Maps listing and a mediocre (or non-existent, as you mentioned) website will now be forced to change or risk losing their web exposure all together.
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        • Profile picture of the author adriver38
          I think its going to be a good thing for us all, but not until we figure out the new algorithm and the weight placed on everything. I still think it would be really unfair of Google to penalize a business for not having a website. So I find it hard to believe that this would factor in, then again who knows, it is almost 2011, if you own a business you should have a basic website.
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      • Originally Posted by adriver38 View Post

        Linda, fabulous blog! I was kinda freaking out last night about the changes and what it meant for local seo and your blog was such a great help. You had a bunch of resources plus your own thoughts.
        Thanks for keeping a girl sane

        I think this means Im going to have to change some things on my website. I definitely think having a well optimized website will be a factor in getting onto the first page as a local listing. What does this mean for business owners without websites though? Do they have no chance now? So many questions...
        adriver38, thanks what a nice comment. Glad you liked my local SEO blog.
        I barely have time to blog these days, but I try.

        Well for a long time today I had both the old and new results in different browsers so I did some major testing back and forth on some of my client's local rankings and what I'm discovering is pretty interesting! Most of my clients were already page 1 on local and luckily have gone even higher on the new results.

        BUT most of my clients already have pretty good organic rankings. So what's interesting to me is the change in what it's going to take to GET someone to the top from scratch if they don't have a good organic ranking already. I did regular SEO for 10 years and I don't want to do it now. I want to do LOCAL. Just have to figure out how it all fits together I guess.

        Changes are still rolling out and the layout is pretty flaky at times, so I guess we'll have to see where things are at after the dust settles.

        I can tell you one thing for sure though. Anyone like me, who has a purely LOCAL optimization business will quickly have to switch gears, adjust their business model/service offering and re-think their entire optimization strategy.

        However, with change comes opportunity! My mind is reeling with all the possibilities.
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  • Profile picture of the author k60mall
    If your client had a site on page one in the organic section it looks like they have merged it with the maps listing. They have taken the organic title and put the places image link below it so you can now have only one position on page one rather than one in organic and one in places.

    My clients wedding site has dropped from the A position to the E position because he didn't have an organic listing but his page one You tube video is now above the Maps listings.

    I quite like the new look as it takes over most of the page but more importantly I like the way they are merging other web 2.0/video sites within the maps.

    Keith
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  • Profile picture of the author Lukas
    Good for us all?

    I'd rather still go with SuperYellowPages or a large directory/info type site to pick through the many businesses who do services in the Plumbing industry than 3 to 5 on the 1st page of Google with fake reviews or kw stuffed.

    It'll help some people and hurt other larger sites that are national which is not fair. I hope they change this back. How can a small-time mortgage broker in Austin be more relevant than an authority site like bankrates or mortgageloan dot com, authority sites, which have multiple local lenders to the order of 20 or more while the local places or map listing site is "1 or 3" choices .

    This is not the best user experience as they refer to it. The red balloon brings your eye down to that listing as well. Pretty soon any local search in NYC or LA will be all balloons, you think this is what the user wants, I say no. This has to go back.

    What is certain is their Adwords division will surely suffer as bidders do not use kws like "plumbers Dallas" anymore since you've got "plumbers dallas" local/places sites showing up.
    Short their stock, adwords will drop in Q4 sequentially.

    Does anyone else agree it will hurt the user experience and adwords?

    Honestly do you or friends who are not SEO people ever use Google local in the past. It's like they are forcing it upon people into the organic section. I guess I am biased since I have many sites that are national search oriented.

    Just another reason to diversify income streams. So, I guess I can say thank you Google
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    • Profile picture of the author DaveLloyd
      Originally Posted by Lukas View Post

      Good for us all?

      I'd rather still go with SuperYellowPages to pick through the many businesses than 3 to 5 on the 1st page of Google.

      It'll help some people and hurt other larger sites that are national which is not fair. I hope they change this back. How can a small-time mortgage broker in Austin be more relevant than an authority site like bankrates or mortgageloan dot com.
      I'm not sure how exactly it will work.

      For example I have one client who has no Google Places listing, but they are #1 in the organic search (with two other indented listings) - their site appears above the new Google Places listings.

      Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author DannyP_uk
    I'm in a similar situation to you Dave, the hotel company I work for ranks very well in organic results but we we're not doing so well in local search.

    Now we have mostly #1 positions for all of our top key phrases.

    As it stands right now it looks like the old local listing algorithm has been binned and not consolidated with the original organic algorithms.
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    • Profile picture of the author adriver38
      Lukas: My bad, I meant good for Local SEO Consultants with local businesses when I said "us all". If you have national companies that depend on local business, than yea, this might suck.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bronwyn and Keith
      Hi Danny

      We had the changes occur here in Oz (at least in our area) overnight.

      What we are finding is that "ALL" of our existing clients Google Places positions have "STUCK".

      Plus by having the map for the 3 and 7 boxes over on the right all we are seeing is the A, B, C etc. on the left with our clients still on page #1.

      Rang a few clients this morning to let them know about the "minor" difference in look and feel.

      The overwhelming response is that they now believe that they are "better placed" to kick the "local search butt".

      Plus they love the way that the map follows them down the page - it adds the importance of the Placement.

      Why did they feel that way???

      Because we "tempered" the conversation with "how cool is that", and hey this "might even get more customers".

      They love it.

      Our advice to all offlines doing Google Places - use it or lose it.

      Regards

      Bronwyn and Keith

      Originally Posted by DannyP_uk View Post

      I'm in a similar situation to you Dave, the hotel company I work for ranks very well in organic results but we we're not doing so well in local search.

      Now we have mostly #1 positions for all of our top key phrases.

      As it stands right now it looks like the old local listing algorithm has been binned and not consolidated with the original organic algorithms.
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    • Profile picture of the author copywriter
      I am in NSW Australia and have just noticed the new look.

      Google must be utterly bonkers! I absolutely hate this new look! Utterly destroys local seo.

      Whats worse the results show some terrible looking sites or just listings with no sites.
      Way to go Google! Just destroy tens of thousands of local businesses incomes overnight!
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  • Profile picture of the author Adrian John
    i don't like either the new look.
    has anybody noticed any changes in the ranking factors?
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  • Profile picture of the author k60mall
    Hey Danny fellow Yorkshire guy.

    Sorry to burst the bubble but Google is still using their places algorithm.

    I have a wedding photographer web site where the organic result is somewhere on page twenty but the places listing is still in the top 7 maps results.

    I think if your places listing is relevant and is well optimised it will still rank in the top 7 even without an organic page one ranking.

    It looks to me like Google is placing the old organic results above the maps listing if that site didn't have a maps listing then sorting all the others out by showing the most relevant results to it users even if they didn't have a good organic ranking.

    Keith
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    • Profile picture of the author ukcarl
      Hey every one this is what im getting at the minute not quite as extreme.
      The map has moved and scrolls but the 7 box is still small


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      • Profile picture of the author Bronwyn and Keith
        Hi Carl

        Yep but the entries are still in the prime spot - above the fold. We love it.

        Regards

        Bronwyn and Keith
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      • Profile picture of the author ukcarl
        Originally Posted by ukcarl View Post

        Hey every one this is what im getting at the minute not quite as extreme.
        The map has moved and scrolls but the 7 box is still small


        I did a different search for a similar US term and get these results I think I definatly prefer the first one

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        • Profile picture of the author Bronwyn and Keith
          Hey Carl

          Can you do the search on the US again without the interference of SEOQuake.

          It's probably distored the look and feel of it a bit.

          Regards

          Bronwyn and Keith
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    • Profile picture of the author DannyP_uk
      Originally Posted by k60mall View Post

      Hey Danny fellow Yorkshire guy.

      Sorry to burst the bubble but Google is still using their places algorithm.

      I have a wedding photographer web site where the organic result is somewhere on page twenty but the places listing is still in the top 7 maps results.

      I think if your places listing is relevant and is well optimised it will still rank in the top 7 even without an organic page one ranking.

      It looks to me like Google is placing the old organic results above the maps listing if that site didn't have a maps listing then sorting all the others out by showing the most relevant results to it users even if they didn't have a good organic ranking.

      Keith
      I'm still not convinced; from what I can tell so far, with the little research I have done, is if you have an organic listing and a local listing they are been merged only for keywords you are targeting and which you we're ranking on the first page for before. Does that make sense?

      So, if you do a search for a keyword you are optimising your photography website for do you get a merged listing? And if so is this merged listing in or close to the same position it was in prior to it being merged?

      I'm clutching at straws here but this is how it looks to me so far, all my top targeted keywords are showing merged listings in the same or very similar positions to where they we're in organic results before. For keywords I haven't been targeting yet I am seeing just the organic result on its own.

      On top of all this our merged listings for our top keywords are coming out at number one and outranking our competitor who was previously destroying us in the 7 box.

      So tell me, how am I outranking someone who was #1 in local listings for my top keyword with one of my websites that was #1 in organic listings and didn't even show in the seven box?
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      • Profile picture of the author BradleyC
        Business owners and regular joe's out there aren't nearly as computer savvy as the rest of us here. Those I've shown this new lay out to and have discussed this with don't like it. They find it confusing.

        I have to agree.

        Now it's establishing the what has weight for optimizing them and learning to play the new Google game.

        Like many, most of our clients didn't have much of a hit. That leads me to believe it's still business as usual, for the most part.

        Bradley
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        • Profile picture of the author adriver38
          My clients website was #8 on page 1 for a few keywords. His site was really crappy with tons 'o' flash on the first page, image heavy, no meta tags to speak of, pretty much your basic nightmare. The only thing he has going for him is domain age, which is 2004. He is friends with his web designer and said he could get him to make all the changes for free...ugh. The web designer didnt know how to do anything, so I had tp explain to him how to at least add a meta description and title to the site. During my consultation with him I convinced him to at least let me optimize his Google Places listing. His listing went from pg 20 to the Top 7 in a few days after being claimed and filled out.

          After these changes in Google, he is still in the Top 7 with his listing for all the keywords, and depending on the keyword you search his website shows up in organic sometimes, sometimes not. My point is...I think they are factoring in SEO but mabey just on a very basic level (meta description and title, ect.) and still using the old Google Places algo. I dont think its going to take tons of amazing backlinks and perfect on page SEO to get these listings to be in the top 7. Thats what Im hoping anyways
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  • Profile picture of the author ukcarl
    just noticed as well on the first screen shot you cant see but if I scrole the page it is showing 20 organic results

    To Bronwyn and Keith I removed seo quake and it remained the same on the second screen shot.

    I have to say I prefer the first version suppose they are just testing

    Here it is without SEO Quake

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    • Profile picture of the author Bronwyn and Keith
      Hey Carl

      We just love this new layout. Googles actually done us offliners ahuge favour with this.

      Just keep thinking about all of the possibilities.

      Regards

      Bronwyn and Keith
      Originally Posted by ukcarl View Post

      just noticed as well on the first screen shot you cant see but if I scrole the page it is showing 20 organic results

      To Bronwyn and Keith I removed seo quake and it remained the same on the second screen shot.

      I have to say I prefer the first version suppose they are just testing

      Here it is without SEO Quake

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  • Profile picture of the author ukcarl
    why are you liking it so much?

    The one thing I do like in this particular screen shot is the first 2 organic results appear above the google maps
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    Wow - Thanks to all for educating me here! I just noticed the changes this week with some local searches and I see the new version in both Chrome and FF.

    Have to say I really liked the older look better, but Google will test and do what makes most financial sense for them in the long run.

    Just another example of why your business shouldn't depend entirely on someone else's business model.
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    • Profile picture of the author Leads4Builders
      Steve..you hit the nail on the head. You can't ride the coatails of someone else's business model and expect things to run smoothly. You're at their mercy whenever they want to make changes. If you want to stay in this game, you'll have to be someone that can embrace change and be prepared to adapt quickly to all mighty Google.

      Yesterday was a nightmare as I had just ranked a lawyer client in the 7 box for a ton of keywords, and now most of them are dropped because his site doesn't rank well organically. Having said that, I would hate to be the big directory guys...they just got blown out of the water for local search.

      I personally hate the new look. Not because I'm a bitter Local SEO guy, which I am right now, but because it feels clunky and confusing. Having the map on the right side is distracting. I know Google had to do something, because they were losing revenue to the map section, but the new layout is terrible.
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      • Profile picture of the author BradleyC
        Right now, what I'm seeing and wondering is this ...

        Google Places is putting weight from the actual website. Therefore, backlinking is going to also play a role with Places. That means we'll have to continuously do backlinking for customers on Google Places like we do for the natural listing.

        Because of this, we will now be charging a month to month fee where before we didn't with LBR.

        But here's what I'm wondering ... 1) can a business listing be in both Google Places on the first page AND the natural on the first page?

        2) If I setup Places for a business but don't get it onto the first page, will that affect their natural ranking with the website since they have a Places listing? If so, I see landing pages being used in conjunction with their websites for the natural listing.

        I see this change as a serious game changer! Feed back people ....
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  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    I don't like this new layout too much. It looks like it's not finished... Hopefully, my eyes will adjust to it :-)

    That map positioning seems odd. Like it has nothing to do with the results on the left...


    Thomas
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    • Profile picture of the author adriver38
      BradleyC: To answer your first question, yes. My client was and still is on the first page of Google for organic listings and in the top 3 of the new 7 pack. I see others saying the same thing about their clients.

      2) Probably, but may depend. Not sure what you mean by landing pages being used in conjunction with websites? Do you mean like a squeeze page or a smaller version of their website, like a link wheel type thing?
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    Careful on your Keyword stuffing when trying to optimize your Places. I suggest creating a nice clean profile first, after you get it approved, you can be more creative on optimizing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zach
    Take-aways for Small Business

    1. If your business doesn’t have a website, you’ll miss out on local search now!
    2. Web presence is more important now too – look at the clustered results on the new format. Searchers may not click on your website, they may click on one of the other links
    3. AdWords will get more competitive for local businesses
    4. Online reviews and Citations are more important than ever now
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    • Profile picture of the author Bazbo
      I'm just starting out in offline marketing; haven't made a dime yet. In fact, I just made my first money online the other day when I made $1.54 from Adsense on a blog I put up about trying to lose weight. I've been reading WF and all about IM for several years now, and I"ve spent thousands on courses, but I finally decided it's time to quit "planning", quit buying and reading, and start doing. So I picked a city at random. It's in the top 20 biggest cities in the US. I bought a URL for a popular home service business, and got to work seeing if I could get it in the top 10 organic searches.

      That was on July 2nd. I put up a basic (actually ugly) WP theme, wrote a 500 word KW optimized post for the main page, did the About Us, Privacy, Contact, etc. Submitted an article to EZA with a link. For three weeks I still wasn't showing up. Then I showed up at around #33. A couple weeks later I got to #23, where I stalled out for several weeks. Did some more involved linkbuilding campaigns, and got up to #11. Frustrated, but I kept at it, until I got to #9, then #7, then #3.

      I've been at #3 organic for about 2 weeks now. And you know what? I was getting pretty much zero traffic. According to Market Samurai, my KW phrase gets searched like 50 times a day. And being #3 organic, I was getting like 3 visitors a week. I can only assume that's because with the huge places map, #3 was actually like #12, and that most people were clicking on a Places link.

      Now that the new layout is here, which just started showing up here yesterday, I think this will be good for me, and other people with high organic listings. At least I hope so.

      But right now everything is in flux, as sometimes I'm #4, sometimes #2, and sometimes #8, and every now and then the old Places layout still shows up. But I've got my fingers crossed.
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      • Profile picture of the author Bazbo
        Also, in the new layout, with the map on the side, the map scrolls down as the user scrolls down, covering up the Adwords ads. Is Google really going to leave it like that? Surely that would make a lot of local ad buyers reluctant to spend any money on adwords.
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        • Profile picture of the author adriver38
          I just wanted to add that the map issue with scrolling down over the ads is an IE related issue I think. I didnt know what everyone was talking about because I use FF. SO I tried IE and sure enough it scrolled over the ads. So I bet this is just a glitch that will soon be fixed.
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          • Profile picture of the author Bazbo
            Originally Posted by adriver38 View Post

            I just wanted to add that the map issue with scrolling down over the ads is an IE related issue I think. I didnt know what everyone was talking about because I use FF. SO I tried IE and sure enough it scrolled over the ads. So I bet this is just a glitch that will soon be fixed.
            Hmm..I use Chrome, but it could be it's an IE/Chrome glitch. Although you'd think Google would have optimized it for their own browser.

            We'll see, after everything shakes out. Almost every time I search for my KW I get a different result. Not just #, but sometimes get the old Places layout, sometimes the new one, sometimes a hybrid where the map is on the right, but the 7 box is still above organic.
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          • Profile picture of the author DaveLloyd
            Originally Posted by adriver38 View Post

            I just wanted to add that the map issue with scrolling down over the ads is an IE related issue I think. I didnt know what everyone was talking about because I use FF. SO I tried IE and sure enough it scrolled over the ads. So I bet this is just a glitch that will soon be fixed.
            Actually for me, here in the UK, Google obviously isn't fussy. The map scrolls in FF and IE. I haven't looked at in Chrome, Opera etc.

            Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author zoro
    This totally p..ss.. me off. I do PPC marketing for local business clients any many of my ads that were in position #1 & #2 have now been relegated to below the map on RHS. Not many eyeballs will see them there. I am still paying the same Price Per Click but now getting very few clicks.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bronwyn and Keith
      Hey Zoro

      We didn't give PPC any thought - but wow that's a huge change for you.

      Hopefully you can create a workaround.

      Regards

      Bronwyn and Keith
      Originally Posted by zoro View Post

      This totally p..ss.. me off. I do PPC marketing for local business clients any many of my ads that were in position #1 & #2 have now been relegated to below the map on RHS. Not many eyeballs will see them there. I am still paying the same Price Per Click but now getting very few clicks.
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      • Profile picture of the author BradleyC
        Here's what's happened to one site.

        One of it's keywords it's #11 natural and is found under Places at around #8 (have to choose more results). In this case, the business listing is in both areas, although neither is on first page.

        For it's main keyword it's #4 on Places and it's now no where to be found on natural listing. In this scenario I'm lead to believe Google merged the two together based upon the keywords.

        I'm still trying to make heads and tails of this.
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    • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
      Originally Posted by zoro View Post

      This totally p..ss.. me off. I do PPC marketing for local business clients any many of my ads that were in position #1 & #2 have now been relegated to below the map on RHS. Not many eyeballs will see them there. I am still paying the same Price Per Click but now getting very few clicks.
      Quite frankly, adwords look very weak right now. I wouldn't be surprised if the clicks dropped by 60-70%! I don't believe this is the final layout though...


      Thomas
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      • Profile picture of the author richrowley
        This is certainly a combination of natural listings and google places. You can see that the titles and descriptions are taken from the website and not places listings.

        One of my clients had a listing that was nowhere to be found, whilst this week I worked on getting her to page 1 for an organic search result. I achieved this and when the changes happened in the UK google appears to have combined her new natural listing with her places listing to give her a position B in the new layout.

        Interestingly if I click the 'places' only search results my clients listing isnt there. Again backing up that the new layout is a combination of organic and places. Its just like a new google page 1.

        For offliners and their clients I think this means, get them a places listing, then boost the organic position of their website, then let google combine the 2.
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    • Profile picture of the author peter.max
      Originally Posted by zoro View Post

      This totally p..ss.. me off. I do PPC marketing for local business clients any many of my ads that were in position #1 & #2 have now been relegated to below the map on RHS. Not many eyeballs will see them there. I am still paying the same Price Per Click but now getting very few clicks.
      Are you seeing them re-appearing in the top 3 positions. I've had some of mine return now that they are rolling it out. Will have to see how this pans out. Adwords is the money machine for Google so I'm sure they will find a balance. I am glad though that it seems that sites can rank organically better than when the G7 box was at the top.
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  • Profile picture of the author MediaPlanner
    Here is a relevant blog post I came across today:
    New Place Search Shows Google’s Commitment To Local

    Please hit my thanks button if you find it helpful.

    Monty
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    • Profile picture of the author PaulintheSticks
      For my first client ever, I optimised his site for a neighboring town because his location is a small town of only 16k and I was concerned that he wouldn't get enough traffic. I got him ranking on the first page for 3 phrases but even though I haven't seen a change yet, I'm really concerned since his physical address is in another town and he can't get a maps listing in the town he's ranking for. Am I thinking straight?

      Worst case scenario I guess I'll have to try and sell/lease the site to a business that's actually located in the town its optimised for.

      Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author NickMann
    This makes me glad I diversify.. PPC, SEO, Places, Video, Content and Design..

    I think there's more to come, Google may end up monetizing the whole first page before too long...

    If played correctly this should put the Offliners delivering value ahead of the rest..
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  • Profile picture of the author Riz
    From my clients i can see there is definately a major shift in rankings and seo friendly websites is what makes rankings better.

    Here is what i am finding:

    1) As an example one of my client had a 1 box for many keywords. Their competitors were ranking for the main keywords in GP but not the long tails and some other variations. My client was getting many leads from this. However, since the changes my client no longer owns a 1 box but their competitors have taken over and ranking as there sites were ranked better organically.

    2) If i click the 'Places' link on the left hand side my client is in the 'A' position for many keywords, however on the 'Everything' results (which is the google default) my client has either dropped rank or disappeared yet still appear in the 'A' position under the new link 'Places' that now appears.

    You can test this for many categories. The results appearing in the natural results are different to the results appearing when you click 'Places'

    I think a well optimized places page will rank you well under 'Places' but to rank otherwise we will need an well optimized site + a well optimized Places page.

    I suppose only time and testing will tell.

    Riz
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  • Profile picture of the author REW72
    Further anecdotal evidence from 2 of my offline clients. One has a well optimised website and a largely optimized places listing. The website organically was p3, the local listing not ranked (largely because the location of the office is 15 miles from the keyword location targetted). This listing has now jumped to P1.

    A second well optimized site previously ranked p2 is unchanged but so far down the page as to be useless.

    It will be interesting to see how well local businesses that market predominantly outside their immediate area fair going foward.
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  • Profile picture of the author ashokagroup
    Dude its same as before..
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    • Profile picture of the author papeter
      I am in UK and both FF and IE have the new layout. The map now in the new position on the right may induce more people to subliminally click on the adwords below it. And yet Google tells us not to have images next to adword ads!!! LOL
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