Google place search big changes to local search results

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Google has recntly launched their new Place Search, intended to make searching for local businesses and services much easier. But what impact will it have on the regular search organic results?

How have Google local results changed?

The new function merges organic and local search, dramatically changing the way results are displayed for searches that trigger localised results. Instead of the previous compact two-line list of the top seven local business results, these results are now incorporated into the organic results, providing a larger listing.

In addition to the Places marker, title, URL, phone number and link to reviews, new local results also include a description, a thumbnail image (if available), the business address, a Place page link, plus an excerpt of a recent review (if available). The map has been moved to the right hand side of the page, above the paid results.

Previous Google Local Listings

Previous Google local results view


New Google Places Results

New Google local results view

You will also find a new link for “Places” in the left-hand panel of the search results page, so you can switch to just Place results.

What does this mean for organic search results?

Regular organic listings will be pushed further down the page by these expanded listings – for our ‘web design christchurch’ search, there were only three regular listings on the first page of results, so sites without a Google Places listing may find their web rankings have slipped from the first page of results.

Therefore, it’s more critical than ever for businesses to implement a local search strategy to achieve prominent visibility in Google’s location specific search results.

Please get in touch if you need help claiming and optimising your Google Places listings.

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Mark started working in the Internet industry in 1994. He went on to startup New Zealand Tourism Online, Avatar and other companies. Mark enjoys meeting with clients and strategising online marketing solutions.

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