10 Pack Update affects Mom & Pop’s, McDonald’s, Marketers, MC & Mapqust

mcdonalds
Update:: Google Confirms 10 Pack Expansion

Google’s newest showing of Local results on non geo modified phrases will dramatically enhance the role of local data and of branded local data in search. Its impact will be felt every where from the local dentist to the largest retail brands in the US. It offers up the prospect of modifying the behaviors of businesses, searchers and search marketers alike.

From Mumbai to Missoula, from Mom and Pop’s to McDonald’s, from soccer moms to search mavens, from Mapspammers & Merchant Circle to Mapquest, all are going to feel the affect of Google’s recent increase in showing Local results to non geo targeted, but locally relevant phrases.

Yesterday as news of the development spread, local search writers noted the significance of the increased role that local would play in search with descriptions like game changer, large implications, welcome development, reflects real user intent:

Google Changes the Local Game (again) Matt McGee, Small Business SEM
Every Search Is Local Now? Andrew Shotland, LocalSEO
Google Now Showing 10 Pack w/o Modifiers Greg Sterling
Now With More Local Mike Boland at Kelsey Group

David Mihm is seeing these results in England, Will Scott has seen them in India and reports from Netherlands, Australia and elsewhere indicate that Google has rolled out the expanded showing of the Local 10 Pack worldwide.

By showing local results on many more phrases with local intent, Local results will show orders of magnitude more frequently. Early research indicates that click thrus will skyrocket.

Here are some thoughts on who and how the many stakeholders in Local Search might be impacted:

Category Result Impact
Mom Searcher The naive searcher will be more exposed to Local, sooner Maps will be exposed to huge audience that can only further cement its lead across all platforms
Maven Searcher The expert searcher will be able to find that local shop with less effort Will the trend in multi word searches start to decline
Mom & Pop Shop The increase of exposure in broad category searches will increase call through significantly The small retailers will be forced to notice and play in the Maps space. Where will they turn for customer support?
MapSpamers Ah the temptations will be that much greater Where there is a will there is a way, be prepared to see the underbelly of Maps all too often
Marketers Optimized organic results will be pushed down the page The impact for a time, of powerful organic optimization will be muted on those searches with local intent. Time to learn about optimization?
McDonald’s Fortune 500 companies will get increased exposure for their local franchises They have for the most part ignored local. They will take notice and get serious about their local efforts
Merchant Circle/IYP’s etc The smb aggregators will be pushed further down the organic results This will sorely test any entities that make their living solely on referrals from the SERPS
Mapquest Mapquest will see another hit on traffic More and more users will be driven into Maps to see what’s what and stay around
Maps Maps traffic will be pushed up Are they ready for the Mapspam and increased customer service load?

The impact is and will be widespread. There will be winners and some big loosers. There will be few in the Local search industry that are not affected by this change.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
10 Pack Update affects Mom & Pop's, McDonald's, Marketers, MC & Mapqust by

37 thoughts on “10 Pack Update affects Mom & Pop’s, McDonald’s, Marketers, MC & Mapqust”

  1. I saw this effect yesterday Mike, when checking for a local dentist (client). I suspect this is going to be true for the typical ‘yellow page categories’ and not much more… so searching for ‘rawhide chews’ gives you your typical serps and the added Froogle results as well as ‘sponsored links’ but doesn’t populate a 10pack of pet supply stores. Thanks as always Mike for keeping us up on teh Gooogle.. :)

  2. Hi Dave

    While “raw hide chews” does not return local results the following searches do:

    *burger
    *nursing school
    *groceries
    *counseling
    *cleaning

    So while it does return on YP categories, it is also much broader than that as well. Also I think that if Google determines that “raw hide chews” searchers really want the “raw hide chews” store on the corner, it will start showing. The opposite is true as well…if these don’t get the click thrus…they are gone.

    Mike

  3. We in the local search biz of course are all in a buzz over this, but it will come down to how the mass of average users respond to it. Mike is right, if these don’t get the click throughs, they are gone.

    Although, others have said they have seen these pop up before. And I think I may have noticed them the odd time, not sure though. So maybe Google already ran its limited testing here and there and decided it was worth rolling it out on this massive scale.

  4. @Stever

    I have been trying to nail down a timeframe for the specifics but anything past last Saturday returns spotty results and unsubstantiated comments as to when this really started in earnest…some folks have said they have seen them for 3 months, others for two weeks…so I think you are right about the testing and ultimately the rollout.

    Mike

  5. Mike,
    I was just writing about all this excitement at Search Engine Guide
    (Google Local Gobbles Search) and I was trying to summarize the various predictions about how the new results may affect us all.

    One item you’ve mentioned that I’ve been wondering about is the idea that this will push out aggregate sites like MC. If we’re still being given 10 ‘regular’ results in addition to the 10-pack (and I am seeing this…you are too, right?) how will it push out previous results? As far as I can see, it just shoves them down. Is that what you meant?

  6. @Miriam

    Yes, pushed below the fold so as to be seen much, much less.

    Great title…sounds like a movie the search that ate Manhattan :)

  7. Miriam, I find the 10pack at mid page creates a HUGE visual barrier. Not only does it push them below the fold, the large barrier created by the maps will likely block lots of eyeballs from looking farther down.

    Those in positions 5 through 10 on those broad term searches will likely see very significant drops in traffic from those keywords.

  8. @Stever

    I think you are probably right about that…would love to see the heat map…it might also act as an attractant.

  9. It could act as an attractant, in terms of pulling eyes down to the 10pack itself, but probably still a barrier for everything below that.

  10. @Stever

    Yes that was what I meant, so that it might actually “steal” some traffic from the higher placed results…

    Would love to see that heat map….

    Mike

  11. I don’t think this will hurt IYP that much at all because they were not ranking for terms without geo mods in the first place, so it is probably business as usual for the IYPs.

  12. Thanks, Mike!

    Stever, I totally agree. Interestingly, for at least some of the searches, the mid-page 10-pack is below the fold on my monitor, so one has to scroll to get to it to begin with. To even get to results 5-10 (or in the case of some searches I’ve done, 4-10) involves some heavy scrolling.

    I would love to see heatmap studies, too!

    What an exciting couple of days this has been.

  13. I partly agree with Espinosa that the impact may not be as great to the IYP’s, but there will still be some impact. For some of those types of broad terms, like plumber, I’ve seen SuperPages and others down near bottom of page 1. But other terms they don’t have any showing for the broad term. Will vary from category to category.

    But for lots of those terms there are the niche directories, and niche IYP type sites, they will see an impact.

  14. @Steve & Stever

    Do you think this will divert serivce/product + geo phrase searches to just serivce/product searches? Or is the habit too entrenched?

  15. @ Andrew and @ Mike:

    This universal map for all things local isn’t working quite like I’d like it. I tried a search for bialy and bialys.

    No dice. No map. Then I tried bialy’s near bethesda. Again no dice…even tho organic referenced a place w/ bialy’s.

    So I tried Mike’s suggestion…bialy’s in Brooklyn…..Ah…a 3pac. My taste buds started salivating. But alas….I tried a different local search phrase…bialy’s in West Orange…where I first got them ages ago.

    the darn 10-pac that showed all the stores w/ bialys were all in NY state. That is a long way to drive for a bialy!!!!!

  16. I think the habit is well entrenched for many. Also adding the geo-modifiers gives you local organic results too, and given that it’s looking like more people use the organic local over the maps local they seem to trust the organic results more when it includes websites to local service providers.

    I think when they truly want local content they will be rewarded with richer results when they do the search with the city name included. Those who already search using a city name will see a big difference in quality of overall. Those who’ve not clued in yet may not then think to start adding city names since Google is now showing that local content but for others maybe it will help spark the idea to start sticking city names into a search and see what they get.

  17. It’s interesting now that I’ve moved from Seattle to the small town of McCall, ID, because Google’s IP targeting is returning Boise results, which is a 100 miles away. There are plenty of other sites out there that are correctly geo-targeting my presence to McCall, but not the big G. Which leads me to my next statement: Incorrect geo-targeting is a terrible user experience.

  18. @EarlPearl

    Kossar’s, the bialys of Andrews youth & the oft acknowledged king of bialydom are available via the net. But for our family, its a twice a year luxury only obtained when we visit the city. My daughter just returned from college hunting in the city and brought back a couple of dozen for the freezer.

  19. @Scott

    It was way off for me initially as well. I live in the sticks and it showed an urban location 70 miles away. I presume that the IP block that I am on is mostly used in the distant urban area and not in my town. Since I don’t have a fixed IP I presume that it changes and is allocated over the whole region.

    I think that the issue is more present in rural areas and likely affects a relatively small % of the total but as you point out, affect it does.

    Do you think most users will take the time to select the “Change Location” link?

    Once a user does do that then Google really knows…
    Mike

  20. @Mike

    I don’t believe that most users will notice the “Change Location” link right off the bat. I didn’t. (Sample size of one.) I simply noticed that Google had returned 10 Burger Kings in Boise, ID (which is a whole other conversation) and kept on looking for something useful.

  21. @Scott
    I didn’t notice at first glance either and in fact published the initial article before I went back and looked more carefully… fortunately my red arrow was already in the right place in my graphic. :)

  22. So, my big question at the end of the day is:

    How many of you will stop using geo modifiers in your own searches because of this?

  23. Here is an interesting one….advertising agencies.

    For a long time google maps has had problems with this “category”. Check it out in many cities and you will find museums, colleges, hotels, and surprisingly some advertising agencies.

    Well a 10pac map is inserted for the non geo modified phrase ….advertising agencies. In fact I checked it locally (Wash DC market) and then changed cities a couple of times.

    Heh….there are now more real advertising agencies in the 10pacs….of course w/ a smattering of hotels, colleges, and museums. Oh well progress….not perfection :D

  24. now with the ten pack making it’s way to rest of the world, and the spam merchants parading trough the streets of our local town, i wonder if google will finally have a different way of organizing it.

    rotate allways seemd to me like a great way to do it.

    does anybody, after this long time of confusion, understands how google maps works in the basis?

    how the algo decides which business to insert, not to speak of having the same business five times in the same ten box…

    ironically, i know how to work it, and not how it works.

    anybody?

  25. @john

    I agree that the results are not always the most useful to a searcher. But they do reflect Google’s idea of same…

    does anybody, after this long time of confusion, understands how google maps works in the basis?

    Not sure what you are asking here?

    Mike

  26. hi mike,

    i ment that it would be way more reasonable- if you account out google’s own habit of making everyone guess what they are up to- to have the results rotating, not static.

    it can still factor what it factors now, but showing it that way would not only be more “fair”, but holds truer the notion of relevance and equal opportunity.

    my question was the simple, but logically misspelled:)
    how does google decides what and who enters its maps and especially one/three/ten packs?
    it’s static, in each location or geotrageted point. but what if a new website sent it’s details? will it enter a ten pack and instead of who?

    is there a time factor? an again factor, or perhaps it takes into account other factors…

    it just seems to me truly un inspired thinking from google, resembling it’s ignorance when it comes to customer service.

  27. I’m surprised that they rolled this out without including geo targeted city names without a state. If I still search my local community for any common local phrases “plymouth pizza” or “plymouth dentist” I still see local results for Plymouth, UK instead of my state.

    It seems to me that this would have finally been fixed in this roll out. Does anyone else have this happen for their city?

    The searches for just “pizza” and “dentist” do show the correct location, but Plymouth, UK is shown for all “plymouth” searches since Google Maps started. This seems like a very simple usability fix for them.

    Todd

  28. @john

    the decision is on based on google’s location prominence algo with postition in the 10pack etc going to the site with the highest location prominence rank. The rank is google perception based on relevance of listing, strength of citations, strenght of in bound links, internal link structure, location, total reviews.

    Mike

  29. @Todd it is odd given their geolocation capability that they would still make that error. It seems they really want (need?) you to hit that “change location” link

  30. @Todd, at a population of only 6000 people there must not be enough clues out there for Google to over-ride the Plymouth, UK (population 250k) results that pop up.

    I see this sometimes searching in Canada. If I do the search in Google.com I sometimes get 10-pack results from similar named cities in the UK. But if I switch over to Google.ca and do same search I get the proper Canadian Results.

    So, maybe there is some factors related to search history and locations of people doing most searches with certain city names??? Not just IP locations of the immediate searcher, but locations of past searchers too. In the example I’ve come across the city in question is Halifax. The Canadian city has a population of almost half a million, but the “constituency” in England is only about 90k. But the word Halifax is common to a lot of other searches originating in the UK. There’s a huge UK wide online bank called Halifax.

    Google Insights shows more searches with the word Halifax coming from the UK vs Canada.

    We look at the word Plymouth and see the same thing, even more pronounced when you compare it to the percentage you see coming from the US.

    I have no idea if this is a factor or not, but it looks like it just might.

  31. “The rank is Google perception based on relevance of listing, strength of citations, strength of in bound links, internal link structure, location, total reviews.”

    are you referring to the site, when you speak of these factors?

    because i see a lot of no site listings, and by far less important and linked sites preferred to bigger and much more cited sites.

    i was under the impression (wrong one, i assume now) that it’s way less organized and calculated, other there is not good explanation to the results.

  32. @John

    I am referring to the rank of the business listing depending on off site, on site and non site related issues.

    Location of business for example and business title create relevance (non site related). Reviews and citations contribute to rank (off site related).

    A listing with no site can rank high in local if the off site and non site related issues are propitious. That being said a site, properly constructed can positively influence rank.

  33. @John

    I am referring to the rank of the business listing referring to both off site, on site and non site related issues.

    A listing with no site can rank high in local if the off site and non site related issues are propitious. That being said a site, properly constructed can positively influence rank.

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