Google Places Search – 8, 9 or More Local Results to a Page – This is not a test, I repeat, this is not a test…

It appears that Google is willing to fill the results page with local Places Search results if they are in fact the most relevant results on a given search.

Mike Ramsey, our intrepid Idaho local marketer, alerted me to the occurence of 9 local results showing on the search: Boston Personal Injury Lawyer. I ran the search against Safari Mac, Firefox Mac, IE 8, Chrome PC and all are showing 9 local search results.

All of the results had reasonably optimized websites and claimed Places pages. The fact that the results are showing in Idaho and NY and are visible across major browsers on different platforms indicates that this is unlikely to be a test. It seems clear that Google is now not arbitrarily limiting local results to a specific number on the page if there are relevant blended Places results for the query. For the Boston lawyer search, a directory site was not visible in the first two pages of results with Superpages and Avvo respectively showing results at positions 5 and 6 on page 3.

As recently as the end of October, Andrew Shotland was seeing strong IYP traffic on sites he was monitoring and wrote the post Maybe Local Directories Aren’t Dead After All?. He noted that “rumors of the Yellow Pages death have been greatly exaggerated”.

Clearly, there are opportunities still for IYPs but they also seem to be becoming smaller as time moves on.

Here is a screen shot….

(Click to view larger)

A similar result, although with only 8 local listings, shows for the search submitted by Plamen yesterday for Bail Bond Service Sacramento Ca. with the first directory result showing on page 2.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Places Search - 8, 9 or More Local Results to a Page - This is not a test, I repeat, this is not a test... by

25 thoughts on “Google Places Search – 8, 9 or More Local Results to a Page – This is not a test, I repeat, this is not a test…”

  1. Funny that the first “organic” result on your first screen shot is with Google Tag – highlighting their website (obviously it’s old… since the website tagging is no longer available). Now I understand why Goog decided to remove the website tagging option… with the mixed reults the website is pretty much promoted without the tagging… :-)

  2. Mike,

    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your site. I found some comments you had made through the whole Google missing review nightmare. Keep up the good work….

  3. What are the odds that this whole thing is one huge horrific horrible Corporate screwup that the folks from 29 different dysfunctional departments within the Google complex are scrambling to unscramble! Just a thought…..

  4. Hi Mike (or anyone for that matter :),

    What are your thoughts on the floating map in the right hand column of the SERPS? I find it strange that Google would purposely cover the Paid Search ads, a significant portion of their advertising revenue as well as aggravate businesses participating in the Paid Search programme by covering the ad space they are paying for. Personally I never click on the paid ads anyway but I still find it strange.

  5. @Brian
    That they are and it not only makes testing hard, it make planning and executing hard as well….

    @Abby
    Yes, the website tag becomes pretty redundant in this situation.

    @Jason
    Thank you and welcome to the blog.

    @Dan
    50- 50?

    @Gmanicvs
    I don’t think about it that much. I assume that Google tested it for user experience and we don’t have access to that info to know their reaction…. I presume that they were happy and in the end with all of the many changes, Google is profiting as well. From the stats I have looked at the change doesn’t negatively affect most clients…. so all that being said, I just relate to it as what is…

  6. @dan
    It is not clear yet that this is more than a test yet but I am thinking of writing a self-help book for google Maps watchers. :)

  7. I have to admit that I like the look of these pages way more than mixed results. I can’t stand a broken up place pack with mixed in purely-organic results. My opinion is that this (and the 10 places result page) is the most relevant for searchers using geo terms in their query. Just keep it consistent or I seriously might use bing. seriously.

  8. @Rasmus
    That’s an unusual one….

    There are more variations of old and new style that it is almost impossible to catalog them all… sometimes they still show an old style 2 or 3 pack, sometimes even an old style 7 pack… on blended they have a range … and then they are obviously testing within and between results styles… all the while integrating changes and tweaks…. I hope they are taking good notes. :)

  9. Interesting. I wonder if Google will get rid of their Maps as a separate search altogether. Why have them independent of each other at this point?

  10. @Rasmus – I get similar results when my browser go nuts. So I try the same search in a new tab. These results are not stable. It’s strange that Google is so buggy and still is the best search engine around.

  11. Seems like “reasonably optimized websites” along with “Place pages” are one of the regular factors here, amazing to still see industries where Place pages are not accounted for and sites not optimized. But then again, businesses operated for years without ever being in the phone book.

  12. @Jenn
    My sense is that Maps still has “classic value” in directions and has a lot of forward facing value as an interface for the future (think earth, checkins, buzz etc ).

    @Michael
    Yes the range of preparedness is amazing. What has always intriued me is the ability of Local/Maps/Places algo to scale simultaneous across that range of signal.

  13. same up here, ie 9-Pack and all local on google.ca for same keyword phrase…here —

    http://www.google.ca/#hl=en&source=hp&biw=1607&bih=911&q=boston+personal+injury+lawyer&rlz=1R2GGIE_en&aq=f&aqi=g1g-v2&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=145a373b65299f42

    BUT…when I change the phrase to “toronto personal injury lawyer” I would have thought that we canucks are behind the US…taint so, tho as yup same 9-Pack local too…

    I wonder, if any of our .uk or .au SEO types see the same in their own googles???

    sigh…this is like very much more learning than I wanted to do, eh…

    sigh…guess I’ve gotta look at our roster again….

    sigh…oh, well, least I’ve got the weekend to spend on this…

    :-(

    Jim

  14. They have been doing this for the past few weeks, the detect location and show results near to us..

    Now localization seems to be a main agenda for search optimization..

  15. Has anyone else noticed that you will get two completely different results when instant search is turned on and off using the same search inquiry? Give it a try and see what happens. I know they’ve said it doesn’t affect ranking results but is sure gives two different results every time.

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