Google Organic Local and Google Maps Local data diverge

About a month and half a go I spotted a trend that is interesting: The top three local listings on the Google Organic results page and the top three listings in Google Map are often not the same.

This has implications for both optimization strategies for Google Organic AND going forward for the directory assistance service that Google is testing. For the present, getting into the top three on the main results page or achieving a “onebox” result on that page is all that matters. There is little traffic coming from Google Maps and less yet from the yet unclaimed directory assistance.

It appears that the two pages calculate authority of listings using different algorithms.Here are some examples of this discrepancy:

Search Phrase:

Example 1:

Ellicottville NY Vacation Rentals Google Organic results page: Onebox Standing

Ellicottville NY Vacation Rentals Google Maps results page: Number 2 (B) Standing

Example 2:

Bradford Pa restaurant Google Organic results page: Number 1 (of 3) Standing

Bradford Pa restaurant Google Maps results page: Number 19 (I) Standing on Page 2!

Most efforts at optimization for Google Maps (Local) have resulted in roughly similar standings. Out of 6 tested phrases (and that were listed in the top 3 on Google Organic), there were 2 listings that had the same ranking in both locations. Three of the other listings were within one or two places but the example above had a discrepancy of 18 places.

The optimization strategy used on the  Bradford Pa restaurant was the same as used in every other listing that I have optimized.
This one has me baffled. Any ideas?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Organic Local and Google Maps Local data diverge by

3 thoughts on “Google Organic Local and Google Maps Local data diverge”

  1. Mike – I believe it’s not just a different algorithm at play here, but also a different index. That is to say, a search on Maps queries a different index of pages than a search on Google.com.

  2. Matt-

    The data set is the same (even if the index is different). I have changed the title’s in listings in unique ways and they show up on the Google Organic Top 3 Local List AND the Google Maps list with the exact same changes.

    When you say the index is different, what do you mean?

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