I've seen well onsite optimised sites, with way higher PR, way more links than competition, yet they don't rank above the competition, and only rank as a places result, when it looks like it should be #1, and a normal result.
1. Does anyone have any good experience with how to overcome this (push it into a normal result, not a places result)? and have some real knowledge about how it is done?
2. What factors does Google determine whether to show a site as a places result, or a normal result, even though the site has both a places page and a website, it only shows some for some websites, and shows others as a normal result, often higher?
I believe most places listings these days are merged (as in, if the site had no places page, it would still rank in about the same position, just formatted normally, as opposed to the old days where a page with no site could rank well on Page 1, as long as it had a good places profile).
Any easy way to confirm if a result is indeed merged places+natural, or if indeed it is only a places result?