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.