Google Place Page Changes

Last week there were a number of new features that appeared in Places and in the 7 Pack including the inclusion of event information on venue Place pages and pushing the ppc hotel booking feature to the front page. There were several that I did not have time to report on that hit my radar:

Whether a bug or by design, the business email address has been removed from the Places page (thanks to reader Robert Ramirez of localrezults.com). He noted, and I agree, that it is a critical piece of information to have about your business on a page that Google positions as a comprehensive “search result” and its absence is strange.

Another interesting tidbit, particularly amidst the frequent disputes over reviews that have occurred, is that Google is now including links to the major review sites near the top of the listing. From a UI point of view it is redundant as the information is readily available down the page. One can only speculate that its inclusion above the fold was an effort to placate the likes of TripAdvisor and Yelp (and I am sure others).

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14 thoughts on “Google Place Page Changes”

  1. There is one more major change – the details appear under the photos and videos and under the “What people are saying”.

    Regarding the links to the major review sites, it is really interesting that actually only the top 3 appear in the “near the top” section.

  2. One thing that I’m noticing since this most recent update is that none of the “Additional Details” that I write are showing up when I claim a listing. I’ve tried updating/publishing multiple times, but the details never appear in the “Details” section of the places page.

    Has anyone else noticed this problem/bug? I’m pretty sure it only applies to listings that have been claimed or created in the last week and a half or so.

  3. And one more (although I think it’s from a little longer, maybe 3 weeks) – offers appear over the reviews. I think this has something to do with the links to the review sites appearing in the upper part of the page.

  4. Yes I noticed last week and tweeted the fact that the images moved up above details so they are above the fold. Which I think could be good for conversions, since a pic is worth…

    Has anyone noticed SERP layout and algo changes? I’m seeing more 7 packs again for primary search terms. I know they have been gradually increasing, but mainly from what I’ve seen it’s been secondary KWs.

    Plus in some markets it does not look like the old Places algo at all. There does not seem to be any logic for why anyone is on top. I’ve also seen reports in the forum from folks that say that not only was their listing dropped, but all their top competitors who have always been on top are gone from page 1 also.

    So it seems like there may be some testing going on in certain markets and not others, because my clients are all holding their top spots. I only see the odd results in certain cities.

    Anyone else seeing odd ranking or layout results?

  5. @Linda

    What I saw in search results was a more goegraphically focused Map… and the resultant ranking changes. IE the map that defines the search area is smaller than it was thus the results are different.

  6. Thanks Mike. Good observation. I’ll check and see if that’s what the change was on a couple searches I started to research. I never even thought to look at things from that viewpoint. That’s why we call you Professor Maps! :-)

  7. I wonder if this is to prevent email scrapers. I’m sure a lot of my spam mail has to do with my local listings. I know I get cold calls from people who found my number on Google Places so it would be no surprise they’re scraping my email address too.

  8. @Linda
    Let me know… would appreciate knowing if that was the change.. it was particularly noticable on the head terms in mid major markets.

    @Chris
    They certainly have the technology in place to deal with that issue and they do so thru the forums and their profiles all the time…

  9. @Mike I think something else is going on too. I’m seeing some very flaky results.

    I just posted this in reply to someone in the Places forum that said not only his listing, but all the top listings in his market dropped to page 6.

    From this post: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Places/thread?tid=27ef4268cbe9d2e4&hl=en&fid=27ef4268cbe9d2e40004a2523287aa3f

    I wrote:

    All my Dentists are still ranked on top, but I’ve been getting calls and doing research for some companies that have dropped like you have. And like you, other top listings in their market dropped too.

    All my Dentists happen to still have the merged rankings and those all seem to be fine. It appears only city/keyword searches that have reverted back to the old ‘pack’ style listings have been affected.

    What I’ve discovered so far is that in certain markets, like yours G is reverting back to the old style 7 pack listings, HOWEVER the algo does not seem to work the same or appears to be buggy. Listings like yours that are well optimized and have LOTS of reviews and citations and have dropped to page 4 – 6.

    Just got a call from a plumbing company. DirectTV, Realtor and fake plumber Place pages have taken over the top rankings for plumbing searches and all the established REAL plumbers who have been on page 1 for years, are now on page 6.

    And in some of the markets I’m researching results are just plain WRONG. I’ve seen several cases, all of a sudden, where directories or directory listings are coming up as a local result in the A, B, C slots. In another case a book/movie Place page ranks high for Dentist searches.
    Just plain flaky results.

    In fact one search I’ve always used for testing: Seattle Chiropractor, no longer shows ANY local results at all. No map, no Places, no nada. So there’s a big shuffle going on I think.

    I’m compiling some notes and screen shots for a blog post tomorrow and will try to get feedback from others about what they are seeing. I’ll post a list of the problem SERPS I’ve found too. I hope this a temporary algo, a bug or a test and again it seems to only be affecting certain markets. I can’t believe G would keep these results up for long as they really don’t serve the user well and are some of the worst results I’ve seen in a long time.

  10. I’m starting to see more and more email addresses appearing back in the Google Places listings under “details” – even listings without a website listed have their email addresses appearing.

    This was noticed over the last weekend.

    I also note that “unverifieds” don’t have an email address in their “details” – from my initial investigations.

  11. @Kevin

    Thanks for the followup… I too had noticed that they were showing up but I hadn’t noticed when they started.

  12. I’ve been seeing a long wait for reviews to actually be posted within Google Places. For instance, a client of mine had over 20 yelp reviews as of August 15th, and still hasn’t been represented in their Google Places listing.

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