Google place search big changes to local search results

Monday, November 1st, 2010

We mentioned in our October edition of Avatar News that Google has just 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 in the Internet industry in 1994 working with one of Canterbury’s first Internet Service Providers. In 1997 Rocket launched New Zealand Tourism Online and then Avatar Web Promotions in 1998. New Zealand Tourism Online was sold to Telecom Yellow Pages in 2006. Mark enjoys meeting with Avatar’s clients and strategising winning Web solutions. When not at Avatar HQ, Mark’s into playing tennis, going on family camping trips and supporting the private space industry.

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