Has Google Maps Fixed the OneBox Problem?

Since August, there had been numerous complaints in the forums (here, here, here, here) and in this blog that Google was increasingly presenting the Authoritative OneBox on more general searches that should really be showing the Lucky 7 Pack.

In late September there was an active post in the forum that seemed to coalesce a number of complaints around the issue and posters presented a large number of examples of the OneBox showing inappropriately that Google could examine. On September 30th, Google chimed in and at acknowledged the issue. Numerous examples of the problem continued to surface throughout October.

Well it seems that during the hubbub yesterday about phone numbers, Google seems to have rolled out a tweak that has fixed many of the reported problems. The 3 & Lucky 7 Packs are now showing in place of many of the Authoritative OneBoxes on the general searches given as examples.

I tested 22 of the example searches from the forum post and 15 of those were now presenting the 7-Pack, the 3-pack or no Universal Local Result instead of the OneBox. Of the 7 others that weren’t, 4 were clearly spam and 3 were results that probably should have a Lucky 7 Pack presented. However in those 3 that should be presenting broad results, there is a certain ambiguity in the search due to the similarity between the business name and the search phrase.

Here are several examples from the post of listings still returning the OneBox on what are arguably general searches.

Not Spam:

Pittsburgh Bartending School. (Note that Pittsburgh Bartending Schools though is now returning a 3 Pack.)

Picture 110

Clearly Spammy Business Title:

German Classes Los Angeles

Picture 109

Are your searches that were returning inappropriate OneBoxes now generating the 3 or 7 Pack? Is the problem solved?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Has Google Maps Fixed the OneBox Problem? by

23 thoughts on “Has Google Maps Fixed the OneBox Problem?”

  1. Hi Atul

    Thanks for stopping by. I did see it. I referenced the second part of the post yesterday. The issue with the phone numbers was a temporary glitch that Google has solved. As to the first part, what is showing is a Google test that is only in SF and San Diego at the moment.

    That all being said, I agree that real estate at the top of the page is getting limited. It shouldn’t be wasted with irrelevant results. If a user is searching for “Hotels Falkirk“, one presumes that Google should show more than one business.

  2. Yesterday, good news. Today back to the dumps.

    The Google changes last week scrubbed a bunch of map spammers from Locksmiths in San Diego, but today they are only showing OneBox results, and you guessed it, the only one showing is a scam/ map spammer.

    For a brief shining moments it looked like progress was being made, and today, 3 steps back.

  3. Hi Mike,

    Further to my post on your blog a few weeks ago about Goole returning a One Box Listing in the search term’Livingston Locksmiths’ in the UK I have been wrking tirelessley to get my listing back.
    The individual with the ONE box listing didn’t seem happy with his prime spot and decided to create another 2 listing from the same addres and it created a 3 box sytem with all 3 listing relating to carious names of his business. .

    I have complained on 3 occasions to Goggle spam team about this but nothings has been done.
    This has been running as a 3 box for a week up until someething strange happened today

    After weeks of waiting I was finally relisted in Google maps in the search term ‘Livingston Locksmiths’.

    I found myself in position B of the 3 box with the existing culprit now occupying A & C.

    I was just glad to be back but after a few hours Google has now once again returned a One box listing. Can you explain this?

    Has he realised that if he deletes the other 2 spam listings it would revert back to a ONE box and invariably know me out?

    This is all getting frustrating. You will see from th 2 links that he occupies the ONE box in Livingston and in the search term ‘ West Lothian Locksmiths’ I’ve managed to knock him out position A but he still holds B, C & D

    This can’t be right?

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENUK325&q=livingston+locksmiths&btnG=Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENUK325&q=west+lothian+locksmiths&meta=&aq=f&oq=

  4. I wrote yesterday that google had switched from the one ad to a 7 pack. Well today they are back to showing an authoritative one for a search of Seattle wedding photographers, Seattle Wedding Photography and Seattle Wedding Photographer, the same guy with a spammy site. After all there are only about 300-400 other wedding photographers in Seattle but this must be the go to guy.

  5. I too saw changes from onemaps to 7 paks or 3 paks.

    Then within a couple of hours the old one map results returned.

    Maybe google maps is taking on the personna of a “tease”.

  6. Back in the day, Mike: I “fixed” leaks on a flat ceiling with gum. Google is too sophisticated. Try gum, rubber bands, etc.

  7. Inappropriate oneboxes are back and I’m not seeing maps for generically local searches but made w/out a geo modifier

    ie dentist, dentists, doctor(s), italian restaurant, etc.

    maybe Google is going backwards. maybe Google is reverting to working with a couple of people in a garage. Maybe we are in a time vortex.

    maybe I should quit writing. ;)

  8. This onebox map of google is a good feature but it seems that it’s also use in campaigning other sites that’s why it has been spammed.

  9. There is nothing good about a ONE box system. I would rather have a 7 box system with 6 spammers as long as my own business got listed.

    The ONE box listing only ruins local businesses and I’m getting sick off reading about it.

    Google do nothing about spamming and they don’t give a **** about the honest local business.

    Anyone who runs a small business in a very difficult environment will know what its like.

  10. Mike, it seems to me that Google has reverted to an older version of the algorithm that was live ~3 weeks ago. Two bad oneboxes that I had seen, first disappeared for a week or so, and then reappeared after the phone number vanishing act.

  11. Mike:

    I see a lot of 1boxes removed and replaced w/ 3 or 7 packs. I see a few holdouts and am looking at them vis a vis location prominance.

    I saw one…sort of funny…sort of sad situation.

    A business category has 4 realistic competitors in a city. A 3 pack shows.

    Ugh…how do you like that? One horrible loser. And 3 winners. Sort of pathetic if you ask me.

    Google playing GOD

    Dave

  12. You have to wonder if Google realise how much damage they cause to some businesses through broken systems like the LBL. Its becoming increasingly difficult for them to maintain this apparent “do no evil” mission statement.

    If something doesn’t work properly, don’t roll it out en masse.

    I am well positioned on terms like “seo leeds” but there is one boxes for things like “ppc leeds” and “seo services leeds” when really they should be 7 packs.

  13. Mike:

    Tuesday, 11/11/09

    Yesterday I saw a lot fewer oneboxes on some of the targeted phrases identified in Google groups for maps. This morning, just looking at a few of them, I see the one maps back in place.

    This very much reminds me of Google.com google dance phenomena of a few years ago. During those periods when algos were adjusted individual sites saw incredible roller coaster rides with regard to Serps rankings.

    I’m not seeing changes in ranking order within Maps…but as regards these onemaps and the missing phone information from a few days ago, I’m seeing some significant changes in how data is being presented on a day to day basis.

    Could Google Maps have a bad case of the swine flu?

  14. Dave, I am also seeing OneBoxes that were fixed before the PhoneFlu reappearing as fixed today. Perhaps they got a dose of Tamiflu overnight?

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