Google Places Tidbits

This in from frequent contributor Plamen. Google has shifted their current “Offers” down on the Places Page to the bottom of the Page. Plamen speculates its perhaps to make room for paid offers higher up the page. Google has in the past noted that they are continually testing page content and moving down and out those things that do not perform well:

Frequent commenter Earlpearl noticed this use of the 7-Pack to promote Hotpot. Clearly Google is using their many properties up to and including the main search engine results page to send users over to their new recommendation engine:

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Google Places Tidbits by

11 thoughts on “Google Places Tidbits”

  1. As to Plamen’s findings:
    In an environment and the past year wherein special offers explodedacross the web…the thought that the offers within google got little visibility and traction is scary re: Google’s presentation. If it is because they are testing placement of content on the page…so be it.

    If Google is decreasing visibility of “older style” offers because they’ll be emphasizing a Groupon type “offer” than that is an entirely different issue.

    As to what I referenced….well, Mike, you didn’t describe me as voluble. 😉

    Frankly when I first saw it yesterday, I wasn’t sure if the link had been around for a while or not.

  2. Did ANYONE pay attention to the insanity that went on with Google Places last night??

    Half my client’s listings disappeared + then reappeared 5 hours later.

    A listing we have in Flower Mound, TX didn’t show in the 2-pack, but 1-boxed in nearby Grapevine and was #1 in nearby Carrolton.

    Some listings were ranking (even 1-boxing) in places that held absolutely no reason or logic

    I know its slightly off topic – but its VERY relevant to the state of Google Places/Local SEO.

    Did anybody else witness this or am I the only one?

    1. @Earl
      No I didn’t describe you as voluble as both your email and your comments of late have been very brief…

      But I had not yet seen this link although who knows when it started

      My twitter feed and the forums had note of it. Who knows what was going on.

  3. I also noticed one of my client’s Places page had disappeared, so I just got on the phone and called one of the Google Places Support representatives who quickly rectified the issue. Thank goodness for the 24/7 1-800 Support team at Google Places, otherwise i might have just been alone in the dark wondering what to do… 😉

  4. @Andy, what did they tell you to do to fix it? Mine was showing this morning. I’ve made no changes and it’s gone. Still showing as active and I can see all of my stats/insights…I don’t think I’m in purgatory…

  5. Google is tinkering way too much for itself it seems. People were just getting familiar with “Coupons” and so they changed them to “Offers” and a few months later – oh lookie….it’s under performing! “Local Business Listings” changed to “Places Listings” which has most SMBs not knowing what I’m talking about. Does Google not know that SMBs and the general public are evolving at a much slower pace? Can we catch a breath please? Oh yes….the spammers. Darn.

    Has anyone else seen this bug: Attempt to Claim/Edit a listing but an error box pops up: “We do not recognize this state as a valid state” You know, for states like California and such… The way around this bug is to choose “Select a State” from the dropdown and click Submit. Then you’ll have to Select a state again and it will work. Good luck!

  6. Not only did I notice that something odd was going odd with GPlaces rankings and listings becoming visible that had zero business in doing so, but I also noticed that this large franchise that was dominating the landscape was also in the top spot for AdWords over that time period I was seeing all of the nonsense happening.

  7. @ “Thank goodness for the 24/7 1-800 Support team at Google Places”

    What support team??? Care to share the secret number??? 😉

    Speaking of quirks, bugs and changes… Has anyone noticed all the recent changes in the algo and layouts? It’s been happening gradually, but today I just had time to do some quick testing.

    After the merged rankings started showing Oct 27th, there were the new merged rankings with the NEW algo and there was the old 7 pack style listings that still used the old Places algo. Also 90% of the time if I searched city + KW, I’d get a totally different result than KW city.

    So today I noticed that search term + city KW order is delivering the same results and rankings for the most part. YEA – some type of consistency!

    HOWEVER when it shows a 7 pack layout now it’s no longer using the old Places algo, it’s now using the new merged algo. So instead of there being 2 display layouts with separate algos, both layouts use the new merged algo.

    If it’s a sign of stabilization I’ll take it! I was going nuts trying to optimize for both algos. And trying to run ranking reports when everything was changing constantly was totally unpredictable.

    Has anyone else noticed this change???

  8. @Robert and the others – that kind of insanity is very common when there are ongoing changes in Google Places. Still I think that there is something bigger than just moving the Offers.

    @Earl – yeah, under paid offers I mean something like Groupon offers.

    @Linda – IMO it’s better to optimize for the both algos. I still see old results dominated from listings without website. And the SERPs are so unstable – one day you have 1box, on the next 7 pack merged, then 5 pack merged, and then 7 pack old style. This won’t end soon.

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