Google Upgrades the Local OneBox Results

restBuff450.jpgGoogle is now presenting an enhanced local onebox that includes a map and more details from their Google Maps database. The effect of the change is to totally dominate the main search results with details about the top three local businesses. There are a number of additional options to access more information & directions from their Maps as well.

Certainly the higher visibility will increase general market awareness about their Maps product. The increased links into their local database will likely lead to an increased use of their Maps product for directions, reviews etc. (If you are like me and have already forgotten what the “old” onebox looked liked you can see it here.)

However, the increased attention will also point a bright spotlight on some of the failings of their local product and increase the small business cacophony of complaints. They are a vociferous lot indeed.

The image above clearly demonstrates one of the flaws…the inability to deliver up restaurants instead of hotels when the searcher is looking for restaurants. In a quick survey of 10 major cities, this problem occurred in 3 of them. Google’s inability to keep reviews updated and maps correct will only be more evident.

I am a fan of Google Maps but their vapid response to complaints and their slowness in delivering a mature product will wear thin quickly with this new emphasis on local results.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Upgrades the Local OneBox Results by

16 thoughts on “Google Upgrades the Local OneBox Results”

  1. so…how does one optimize their site to get into that result? is it all onsite optimization or what’s the magic to be the top 3. those are not sites that are submitted to google base are they?

  2. Hello Barndomir

    Here are several blog entries that can point you in the right direction:

    Best Practices for Local Success

    Improving Local Standings via Relevancy

    What does a link campaign look like for Local?

    “The most relevant results” sort of…

    Which business classes benefit most from Local Search

    In nutshell? It comes down to building your site correctly, creating good content so that you are getting good inbound links from locally relevant sites, getting lots of reviews at the directories that service your industry, taking control of your entries at Yahoo and Google and possibly tweaking your business name to be sure that it is consistent accross directories and provides results in the correct categories.

    That being said it is a moving target and any expertise that I have in this area is quickly outdated by changing “realities on the ground”.The reason I started this blog was to encourage input on the best practices to achieve local success. I would be interested and would welcome your ideas and reports back on your results.

  3. thanks very much for the info. mike. i don’t have a superpages listing. i better get on that one for sure.

  4. Mike: I’m seeing the changes for my site, especially with regard to one of the 3 significant long tail geo oriented searches that turns up sales for us (business terms w/our local major city). It places 3 businesses in there ranked alphabetically. We are 3rd. Number 2 is a business that is closed! Hah.

    This will have a significant impact as before this change the site with the highest ranking and ranked first alphabetically wasn’t showing in normal search at ALL!!!!

    From an opposite analysis for years we picked up traffic from the major city directly to the North of us. Not much, but pretty reasonable and would pick up business.

    Since the maps version went in and there was one competitor in that city that controlled the maps version our traffic from phrases that include the other city name have dropped significantly.

    I’d say that the map is a powerful marketing tool that creates a picture (worth 1,000 words) and addiitionally takes up LOTS of google page real estate thereby negating everything under the fold.

    This is a seachange of new differences.

    Dave

  5. Hi Dave

    Yes, this change is rewarding a bricks and mortar presence and diminshing the value of a well constructed web site…on the average that seems like a net positive (no pun intended :)).

    I wonder if you bothered to report the that the 2nd business was out of business via the “dissatisfied” link, how long it would take for the listing to be removed, if ever. Maybe it needs the next InfoUSA update or something…you should try it and see.

    The alpha listing is of interest as well. I have not seen that on a regular basis and I had not considered it as a ranking tool but if things are tied it makes sense as a tie breaker…certainly more sense than ranking by distance from some arbitrary point as in the past…We will have to keep an eye on that and see if there are more alpha listings than would be dicated by chance.

    Mike

  6. Dave

    Also the change means that you can now see log traffic from a strong local lsiting on the main results page…that should be a refreshing change.

    Mike

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