Google changes Local Listings / Places layout

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Eighty-Third Internet Marketing Podcast November 5th 2010. Second page of Show Notes

Google changes Local Listings / Places layout

Chris:                          All right, so if somebody went and typed in “web,” I mean — is –what are the chances they’re looking for a website or, you know, they’re like “web.” I won’t even — that’s probably some kid having to do a research on and he doesn’t know what the web is, and had to go —

Paul:                            Yeah.

Chris:                          — do research.

Paul:                            Hell, he could have been shot on the web.

Chris:                          Exactly.

Paul:                            I mean, that’s —

Chris:                          Or remember it was Halloween, maybe somebody was looking for webs to hang around their house or a web footing —

Paul:                            Yeah.

Chris:                          — ‘cause you always want to see the pictures of the web footing–

Paul:                            I’m still not sold on it to say “Yeah, it’s great.” I love that they’re actually listening because we’ve had —

Chris:                          [Laughs]

Paul:                            If we could have gotten this kind of response in Google Places, I’m mean, it’s great. So I’m just happy that they actually respond and talk to us but —

Chris:                          There is a specific lack of irony in fact that we get responses from Boost a profit generating, and not from Google Places —

Paul:                            And not Google Places.

Chris:                          — a non-profit generating.

Paul:                            Which I think, and I’m going to standby this. I believe that Google Places or the map section of the Google Places listing are going to become the most valuable part of a search engine results page. Just because, and there’s a lot — been a lot of changes — and what I’m talking about, there’s been a lot of changes going on. And here is why I think this, because the first thing you see — well, the very first thing you see is the Pay Per Click ads.

Chris:                          Right.

Paul:                            My eyes are kind of trained to go over them ‘cause I don’t click there. And then the next thing you see is the maps, and everyone is pushing, local search, local search, local search. Well, to Google is that’s their response to local search, here is the map of your city, and there’s this little dots where everybody is in your city, “Oh, their local is close to my job, it’s close to my house so I’m going to pick one.” So I think there’s a lot of value in that and they placed it above the natural listings so you could see it first. It made me think “Okay, this is probably going to be a very valuable place to be ‘cause before I even get to the natural listings I have to see the map.”

Chris:                          Yup.

Paul:                            So now, I’m starting to see all these changes going on the Google search results page, and I brought a —

Chris:                          All right. You know what, before we get started on this.

Paul:                            Okay.

Chris:                          Let’s bring our debating partner champion, third-party —

Paul:                            Social Media Prince.

Chris:                          Social Media Expert, Prince.


Chris:                          Okay, be the king.

Paul:                            ‘Cause I just want to be the king. I want to be the king and everything, the king of all.


Chris:                          You know, by the way I voted on Tuesday. I had the — and when I — I stopped by the house after voting, close to my house of course, and I saw Charles had twitted that he got the 2010 voting badge.

Paul:                            [Laughs] Oh, yeah.

Chris:                          He’s like “Oh, I forgot to check in.” This is with four square. I drove back to the voting booth, sat out there, and I looked like the pervert outside the elementary school on my phone and I checked in “I’ve got the 2010 —

Paul:                            Badge.

Chris:                          — voter badge.”

Paul:                            That’s what’s up.

Chris:                          Thank you Charles. Let’s bring Charles out here.

Paul:                            What’s up Charles? I’d like to —

Chris:                          Also known as the SEO rapper.

Paul:                            I’d also like to say that I am the Mayor of his church.

Chris:                          Ooh.


Paul:                            ‘Cause I checked in at his church, and I was like “Yeah!”

Chris:                          You’re the Mayor over him?


Chuck:                         Yeah. Yeah, I started to her why. I haven’t even checked in to —

Chris:                          You know what? And I was like —

Chuck:                         No, I want to know how you helped them.

Chris:                          Oh, okay.

Paul:                            I secretly — you know, I secretly on my phone like, “I just owned you fool.”


Chris:                          This is your house and I’m the Mayor of your house. It’s — it’s not Mayor though right? Yelp is like —

Chuck:                         Yelp is Duke.

Paul:                            Duke.

Chris:                          Yeah.

Paul:                            Yeah, I think I’m the duke.

Chuck:                         What a duke.

Chris:                          Yeah.


Chris:                          You’re the Dukie.


Paul:                            So if you’re listening you can’t see me hold up this long thing. This is the —

Chris:                          And you know this does remind me of our viral video.

Paul:                            Show it to them. I don’t think they can see it.

Chris:                          Of the viral video. We’ll hold it up real close. This does remind me of the viral video, you need to go out to our Facebook page and check it out. You can see that the map is over there on the left —

Paul:                            Just having a good time on the USTREAM program. [Laughs]

Chris:                          Yes. I mean — I’m sorry on the right and — so there we go. If you guys can’t see that, make sure you go check out the video. You can always find our video just by going to that will take you to our USTREAM feed page. We’ve got all of our videos, except for one archived.

Paul:                            So what I noticed is — we all noticed kind of the same time, like last Wednesday and Thursday, the 20 —

Chuck:                         Something.

Paul:                            20, yeah. Like 20 —

Chuck:                         End of October.

Paul:                            Yeah. Well, your search results change.

Chris:                          We don’t have our historian with us.

Paul:                            Yeah, I know. So the search results changes, right? The first thing I noticed is the map instantly goes to the right-hand side. It was in the middle of the page, now it’s sitting above the sponsored links, which I guess was just dead space before.

Chris:                          I know the sponsored links that are up there.

Chuck:                         But truthfully when we look at search results those top 2 on the right side don’t get clicked on.

Paul:                            Okay.

Chris:                          Oh, they don’t?

Chuck:                         I mean most people click on 1, 2 — 6, 7, 8 and —

Paul:                            Okay.

Chris:                          Yeah.

Chuck:                         — they click on —


Chris:                          ‘Cause they start doing it here and then they say “Oh, let me check. Oh, interesting.”

Chuck:                         Yeah. So why not put them back there?

Paul:                            That makes sense. So that the map goes to the right-hand side and then within about a half hour, and I’m searching and everything starts to change, I noticed that the places listings which used to be right next to the map and there were one line, it had your web address, your phone number, and reviews that’s it and they had seven of them sitting there. I started noticing that they’re giving more information and they are larger. They’re much larger and they do have good point and you are like, “I think they’re going to change it somewhere that the maps will kind of take over the front page.” I’m like “Nah.”


Chris:                          Yeah. That would be an amazing change, why would they do that?

Paul:                            That will never happen to Chuck. So an hour later, it looks exactly like that.


Paul:                            So the whole first page is now Google Places listings, and on this search — I did a search for Houston Personal Injury Attorney —

Chris:                          By the way, before — we want to kind of appeal to our listeners out there ‘cause we know that Google sponsored ads and — Google local places sponsored ads and Google Boost were released in a limited number of cities. So these search results maybe focused —

Chuck:                         May vary.

Chris:                          — just in the city for right now. So if you’re not seeing this, hit us up, hit us up on Facebook and say “Hey, we’re seeing the same thing” or “We’re not seeing it.” We actually found another guy —

Chuck:                         And tell us what city you are in too.

Chris:                          Yeah, we need to know what city you’re in ‘cause Charles actually found a guy who had posted something.

Chuck:                         Yeah, you got to have an article posted on — I want to say it was on TechCrunch, and he actually posted the results for his search query and different screenshots of when Google was playing with the map. He has screenshots with it, below the natural listings, above the natural listings, to the right side above these sponsored listings. And so apparently, they’re still working everything up.

Paul:                            ‘Cause I’ve seen stuff change all the time. I wasn’t there yesterday.

Chuck:                         Yeah, then there’s changing per browser.

Chris:                          Yeah, different browsers.

Paul:                            Oh, seriously?

Chuck:                         I’m saying Chrome and it was different from FireFox.

Chris:                          Yeah.

Paul:                            Yeah, it does — it definitely does, and I’ve kind of gone back to FireFox a little bit when I’m looking at SEO stuff. So to me this is a major, major, major change and I was like I don’t think that they’ll reduce the natural listings ‘cause my thought was the natural listings are what everybody goes to Google for, they’re relevant, that’s what made them who they are. They’re — you know, they’re relevant. I can’t say it enough, they’re relevant. They are all up-to-date. They are on point. But apparently, Google is like — I think the Google Places listings are more important now.

Chris:                          Well, here is my theory.

Paul:                            Okay.

Chris:                          My theory is, is that that Google Places if it hasn’t yet or they’re testing it in certain areas is becoming just another variable in the Google algorithm. So, you — we all — we kind of knew that in Google Places listings in order to get good placement in, you know, the top 5 on that very first page of whatever you are searching, you have to have a complete Google Places listing —

Chuck:                         Yes.

Chris:                          — you have to have — that includes pictures and videos and, you know, and content and you had to have your hours posted, and potentially a couple of other things listed.

Paul:                            It had to be a hundred percent.

Chris:                          A hundred percent. Now, well, why not integrate? Why not just include that as one of the variables of organic search? You know, so now that — now, who’s going to show up organically? Let’s add this little variable. Let’s give it, you know, whatever — whatever weight they give so now it’s not 200 things that or — that define what shows up on the first result page, it’s actually 200 and 10.


Chuck:                         I think — you know, two things. One let’s talk about local search these days, and so Google is taking advantage of that. They are trying to stay ahead of the curve, very soon companies like ours are going to have to work harder now, right?

Chris:                          Yeah.

Chuck:                         Because we’ve been —

Chris:                          We already have been.


Chuck:                         I mean we have, but like we optimize for the old natural listings which have been reduced to 3 —

Chris:                          Yeah.

Chuck:                         — in some searches.

Chris:                          Yeah.

Chuck:                         You see what I’m saying? So we have to focus on local which is not bad. Now, we focus on A through G —

Paul:                            There you go.

Chris:                          Yeah, there you go.


Chuck:                         Look towards your listings. I didn’t even get A through G. I don’t want to be small dot. I want to be a big dot with the letter on it.

Paul:                            So what I would say is — what this says to me is, if you don’t have a Google Places page —

Chris:                          Yeah. Shame on your ass.

Paul:                            Get one yesterday.

Chris:                          Unless you are just a national term, you’re never going to be local I think that — that’s an example. And apparently, internet marketing and web design are national terms not local which we totally disagree with.

Paul:                            Yeah.

Chris:                          I’ll send another e-mail to Google and say “Boo.”

Paul:                            Exactly.


Paul:                            So, if you don’t have one, you need to get one. You need to make sure that you’re listing is one — you know, is a hundred percent complete or at least more complete than everybody else in your city to make sure that yours — your listing is above everybody else’s. You’re probably thinking “Well, how do I make sure that my Google Places listing gets on the first page of the map?”

Chris:                          Hmm.

Chuck:                         Hmm.

Paul:                            Well, that’s a million dollar question. [Laughs]

Chris:                          Hmm. I want to have that answered by — soon.

Paul:                            Yeah.


Chuck:                         Well, fill out all your information and reviews, you know, the more reviews you have — I think somehow Google has reviews in their algorithm, placed this guys higher because more people have reviewed him because he was good.

Chris:                          Yup.

Paul:                            I would tend to agree. I’d say, you know, if you don’t have — I could — Google, here’s what I would probably guarantee, if you don’t have any reviews —

Chris:                          I like — wait a minute. Hold on. Here’s what I probably —


Chris:                          — probably guarantee you.

Paul:                            This works every time, I promise.


Paul:                            I will probably guarantee you this, if you don’t have any reviews, you probably won’t go above someone that has reviews, that’s just my guess.

Chris:                          It makes sense.

Chuck:                         Yeah.

Chris:                          You know, how big are review sites just in and of themselves?

Paul:                            They’re huge.

Chris:                          I mean, we were talking about Google potentially buying Yelp the other day.

Chuck:                         Yeah.

Paul:                            And they jacked that one up.

Chuck:                         Yeah, Yahoo.


Chris:                          Thank you, Yahoo.

Paul:                            I went to meeting a while back at —

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