Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
Google Testing Moving Directional Local Info Panel Back into Search Results
With the advent of the knowledge graph and the info panel, Google has provided local businesses a lot of territory above the fold. This is true in both the main search results and the area to right of the search results where ads often show.
Kerry Fager of Findlaw.com shared this screen shot (IE) that shows Google returning to the Universal One Box integrated directly in the search results and not as as right side local knowledge panel. It is not clear whether this result is an example of the informational or navigational type of panel. My guess is the latter:
Here are the two current possible info panel displays; one that returns when Google thinks it is a navigational search and the other when Google thinks it is an informational search:
Navigational Info Panel (click to view larger):
Informational Info Panel (click to view larger)
Certainly, on the economic front, it would make sense for Google to return to an in-line result rather than taking up more real estate to the side. That being said, at least in the navigational example provided by Kerry, there is a dearth of content.
It could be that the change is only being considered for the navigational result only. As that result currently hides the information behind the clickable drop down that would make a fair bit of sense to move.
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Just want to confirm your definition of a ‘navigational result’. Would this be your take on Google’s effort to provide results for a query it feels has the intent of finding the physical location of a business? First time I’ve seen this term and want to be sure I understand it.
Yes. If Google thinks you are already familiar with the business and want a map rather than reviews they return a different local panel.
Good to know, Mike. Thank you for the definition. Interesting about the inline display in this post. I haven’t run into it yet.
Even if the change for the navigational type is for economic purposes as you alluded to, Mike, the empty real estate on the side wasn’t even used for anything in the above example. Of course, if it’s just a test, maybe we shouldn’t expect anything right now.
And thanks for the shout-out. Credit to my teammate Alex for finding this.
Thanks to Alex then as well.
The fact that the right side is blank is more an indicator that there is no ad inventory not that they don’t want the space.
The current directional Info Panel probably never gets clicked, takes up a lot of room and doesn’t surface often. Regardless of my income theory, we do know that Google has been on a tear over the past 4-6 months to clean up the SERPS and this could be part of that experiment as well.
This is good news for people who are active on Google Local. This will make it easy for them to rank and get more ‘space’ in the Google rankings. It can also convince small businesses to start creating a local page.
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