Google is now showing the Local 10 Pack on broad single phrase searches with obvious local intent (nods to Florist SEO Watch who spotted this on Saturday and Cathy Rhulloda for pointing it out) without geo modifiers. In US searches, the Local 10 Pack appears on phrases such as
- used car
- health food
- computer repair
but currently not on the phrases new cars, web design or apartment rental. It is not clear how many and which phrases are being used but they are more common than not. The results appear to be using Google’s IP geotargeting and present regardless of browser type or whether the user is logged in. For me, the default results offered are in Buffalo, NY, over 70 miles away but there is an option to change location.
The development is similar to their more limited showing of a Local One Box for branded local results that started showing in February.
Providing these results on broad local searches for highly competitve and heavily spammed phrases like Locksmith reflects Google’s growing confidence in the quality of the search results.
In a post in the Google Maps forum specifically about the spammy Locksmith results Google Employee Joel H noted today: We’ve done some work on specific spammy locksmiths. We continue to double down on efforts here, and … we [have] something in the works to make this better. It won’t be perfect, but we think it’s a couple steps forward. We’ll make an announcement here once these changes have gone live.
This higher visibility is very positive and validates Greg Sterling’s view that research undercounts local searches and searches with local intent. One presumes that Google has tested this broadly and feels that the Unversal Local results provides increased relevance to these broad searches. Steve Espinosa in a prescient Local Search News article from February titled, The Downfall of Geo Modifiers, noted a nearly 700% rise in referrals when the geo modifier was not required.
Given the jump in visibility that Google has just offered up to local results, we hope that the steps Joel speaks of are large steps. Regardless, Local visibility has just taken a quantum leap and the flood gates are open!