To: Local Directory Sites
Subject: A Little Head’s Up
As you may have heard, we’ve been testing a new design for the SERPs we display when we detect a query with local intent. In the past these results have typically been a mix of local businesses, local directories and other random sites that figured out how to get in there by creating compelling content and earning the trust of the Web community while in no way engaging in shady backlinking tactics.
As you know, it is our stated goal to organize the world’s information while simultaneously doing no evil. In the past we have been happy to display those local directory sites with enough resources to invest in a good SEO program. Many of these larger players were in fact good for our ecosystem as they typically helped bring small businesses onto the Web where they could learn about Google’s services. And to be honest, we were too busy figuring out what to do with YouTube, Android, Chrome and DoubleClick to spend much time worrying about catering to the SMBs. Frankly, we had seen several investor pitches from local SEM start-ups and were totally not digging the churn rates and customer service costs.
Besides, these companies bought a lot of Adwords clicks to fulfill their inventory commitments for their SMB clients, so we did ok anyhow.
But now, since we couldn’t buy Yelp, we have come to realize that perhaps showing links to yellow pages-type sites for local queries may be a tad on the evil side. I mean we’re already showing you our list of plumbers in Topeka so why do we need to show ten other sites’ lists? So we’re thinking we may not want to do it anymore. Doing what’s good for users and all that kind of thing.
Of course we’re still happy to show your reviews, hours of operation, payment accepted info, services offered, business descriptions, coupons, photos, videos, addresses and phone numbers on our Google Place Pages. We are organizing the world’s information after all and who doesn’t want attribution from a Google URL? Hello Link Juice!
And don’t worry that links to your sites are buried and won’t be seen. As you know, someone who has clicked through numerous pages and then clicks on your link is clearly a more qualified clicker and will convert at a much higher rate than all those lookie-loos coming in from page one of the SERPs.
We know you’ve built a huge part of your business on getting traffic from Google. The good news is that doesn’t have to change. For your convenience we’ve included a link to Google Adwords to get a head start on your campaign. And remember to use the promo code: URSCRWD