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Meet the New Google Local SERPs

October 26th, 2010
41 Comments


Thought it might be of interest to catalogue the different types of Google Local SERPs I am seeing:

7 Pack Lite
Standard 7 Pack listings with map in right column above ads.  10 Web results below.

UPDATE: 3 Pack Lite
Standard 3 Pack listings with map in right column above ads.  7 Web results below.

7 Pack Lite w/Links
Same as 7 Pack Lite with category and location tag links at the bottom of the Pack.

7 Pack Sandwich
1-3 Web results followed by a 7 Local Listings with Map on the right column.  2 Web results at the bottom.

Death To Directories
First 7 results are Place Page listings.  Map on right column.  6 Web results at the bottom.

UPDATE: Organic Split Pack
7 Pack Lite with A listing at the top followed by two Web results followed by a 6 Pack.

UPDATE: The Places Split Pack
Two Place Listings separated by Web results.

I’ll keep hunting for more.


Tags: Google · Google Maps · Google Place Pages

41 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Freelance SEO Consultant // Oct 27, 2010 at 1:37 am

    I did notice the change earlier today, however I believe that it’s still in its testing phase.

  • 2 Trevor McPhee // Oct 27, 2010 at 7:23 am

    I’ve got to say, that 7 pack sandwich style makes me dizzy.

    I personally think that people got something similar to ad blindness with the old 7 pack. Most of the time the user would click on the map and play around with what was close to their home, or go to organic.

    I’ve seen the 7 pack sandwich a few times, and each time it made me reflex down past it – complete was of page space for google IMHO. As soon as all the logos pop up, it makes me fell like they’re stuffing ads down my throat, even though they have less ads on the page!

    the other thing that’s interesting about this is that sometimes the screen moves down, the map completely covers their ads – sometimes I click down a page to go click on an ad (for some reason as a user I don’t click near the edge of a window), and the map covers it up. Annoying.

  • 3 Leo @ NetAccountant // Oct 27, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Death to directories could as easily have been named “Death to Organic Listings”. Google IS completely phasing out organic result for some queries!

  • 4 Trevor McPhee // Oct 27, 2010 at 8:09 am

    to add to the last comment, on some searches I’m now getting pure organic results…. no 7 pack, no map, old fashioned minimalist organic SEO

    without the 7 pack makes me kind of feel like something’s missing, but much much much much better than the 7 pack sandwich….

  • 5 john // Oct 27, 2010 at 10:18 am

    it seems that it is still on a testing phase because the results varies every time I hit search.

    I hope that it will be finalized soon. So local marketers can adapt with the changes.

  • 6 Stephen Kinsella // Oct 27, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Hi Andrew.

    We’ve been checking out a range of phrases since we noticed the changes this morning. Only seeing them on Chrome. Check out some of the SERPs for non location based searches.

    Insurance – http://twitpic.com/31cplj/full
    Web Design – http://twitpic.com/31cppz/full

    It’s not as if we didn’t see it coming!
    http://blumenthals.com/blog/2010/07/05/google-testing-new-local-search-serp/

  • 7 Bede Fahey // Oct 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

    What browsers are you folks seeing these new listings come up in?

    So far, they’re only showing up on Firefox for me – I can’t get them to fire for chrome, IE8, or Safari.

  • 8 Stephen Kinsella // Oct 27, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Hi Bede. I’m only seeing them on Chrome. They’re not showing up in FF or IE. And they are only showing up on 1 PC in the whole office.

  • 9 Justin Sturges // Oct 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Really interesting that the PPC ads on the right disappear under the map when you scroll ! Seems counterintuitive to the Google business model to me. If it stays like this it might be more attractive to be at the bottom of the local PPC ads. Target rank = 10 please!

    Also I noticed that in this example “ATVs Sacramento” (using Firefox and Chrome Mac) the new place page listings in Firefox convert the old top 3 organic spots to place page 3 pack and blows off the old place page 3 pack rankings. Well OK one of them made it!

    It will be interesting to see how things settle after the dust clears.

  • 10 Charlie // Oct 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Between Google Local Results & Google AdWords, organic results are going under the hood…
    Local Search has been on the SE fields since many years ago but now, it seems to be real.
    Let´s see how we -SEOs- adapt here.

  • 11 Andrea Kropp // Oct 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I’m seeing them on Firefox, not IE. I spotted one of the “Death to Directories” style listings with 8 maps listings (A-H) and only 2 organic below.

  • 12 Daniel Hollerung // Oct 27, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I’m seeing these changes in Chrome, not IE. Rolling with Instant Search queries, the local SERPs are grabbing my attention quickly on each search. This could be another game changer from GOOG.

  • 13 Everett // Oct 28, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Good grief… this kind of thing makes me so glad I don’t do local search. I don’t know how you guys keep up with it all.

  • 14 Andrew Shotland // Oct 28, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Grow a pair Everett. Sooner or later most queries go local :)

  • 15 Jeff Mette // Oct 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

    So this is not a test? Looks like if you are in the suburbs and want to rank for the main city you’re chances are going to be next to zero…ouch. That’s going to leave a mark on my traditional seo clients but sure am glad we’ve been keeping up with the local stuff!

  • 16 Tim Cohn // Oct 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Like in your second example above, but with the AdWords extension expanded only the top bidders and optimizers make it above the fold.

    http://searchmarketingcommunications.com/2010/10/28/place-optimization-sample-place-seo/

  • 17 Andrew Shotland // Oct 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    That is a whopper of an ad Tim

  • 18 Tun Cohn // Oct 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Isn’t it though?

    Surely local advertisers without an extension will want one…

  • 19 Andrea Kropp // Oct 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Tim or others – Any good resources to scrub in on the Adwords extension? First time I’ve seen this and I like it very much :-)

  • 20 Scott // Oct 28, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Have you noticed synonyms being highlighted. Type in longwood dog grooming and notice that pet and dog are being highlighted.

  • 21 Andrew Shotland // Oct 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Not sure but I think that’s been around for a bit

  • 22 Leo @ NetAccountant // Oct 29, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Re the map, anybody else noticed that it is fixed on larger screen resolutions. If the height of your screen is >825px the map doesn’t move at all and goes over the adwords!

  • 23 Jacksonville SEO // Oct 29, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Google has always done well.

  • 24 seo consultant // Oct 29, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I also noticed this earlier today searching for ‘local terms’. I didn’t really take much notice. However, looking back at it now, it seems things are really changing!
    Nice illustrations on the pics

  • 25 Tim Cohn // Oct 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Andrea – here is a short overview of AdWords Location extensions -

    http://searchmarketingcommunications.com/2010/10/29/google-adwords-location-extensions/

  • 26 Andrea Kropp // Oct 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks for the link Tim.

    Anyone else noticing that instead of showing the place page title in the large blue font, the new Maps listing are showing the Title of the Home Page of the website the place page directs to? One of the searches I’m following was majorly shaken up since last week. 4 business fell off and all were replaced by listings where the target keyword appeared first in the home page title tag. This seems to be heavily weighted at the moment.

  • 27 Tom Kline // Oct 31, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Thanks for the screen shots Andrew, it’s really helpful to see the most common SERPS layouts that Google is displaying for local search now. So far I’ve probably done about a hundred different queries and the most common layout I’m getting is the 7 pack lite followed by 10 web results.

  • 28 Chris // Nov 2, 2010 at 6:12 am

    So what are some optimization techniques to make sure the business shows up in the Google Places when people are searching?

    They only show 7 at a time and how can you get in that 7? I know keywords, etc but what other things like reviews, pictures, etc?

  • 29 Rick Dudley // Nov 2, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Iv only really seen the changes in firefox. It happened for one day using safari on my iphone before quickly changing back. Its deffo in a testing phase and i would hold fire on any major seo changes.

  • 30 Steven // Nov 2, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Looking at the new local search query results, I am speculating that Google now feels that their grip on the search market is so absolute that they can now get away from the superior search algorithm that made them so popular today.

    This new system of local listings combined with their new offering to advertise in Google local appears to be our first real view of their plan to completely monetize local search.

    At this point, I would say that local businesses better check their bank account as we appear to be headed for Pay for Play.

  • 31 Brian // Nov 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    What I’ve noticed, and maybe I’ve missed seeing it mentioned so far but with some of the terms that we optimize our clients for, both organic results and Google Places listings is that the change is in the direction of blended places/organic,

    From what I’m seeing is simply the addition of the places data to the organic results (just below the organic) for the local businesses with associated places listings and the movement of the map to the right column

    Now I will say I don’t like this, I was happy to assist clients to dominate the page by optimizing both items separately for separate amounts, however the way this seems to be moving is that Google is integrating your places data into the organic algorithm resulting in a need for to include Google Places Listings optimization as a required off page element in SEO

    I don’t believe the format is intended to last, I suspect it will morph into a more elegant solution, I suspect however it is aimed at increasing adoption of Google Places listings to fill out the local business data with more owner verified listings rather than the large percentage that are directory scrapings containing questionably accurate data.

    By the way this is strictly my opinion based on a limited number of queries and daily interaction optimizing for both local, and general search as well as Optimization of Google Places listings, although heavy weight is on my intuition on this matter

  • 32 Ian // Nov 4, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Just when you think you’ve got the hang of it they go and move the goalposts! These changes make local search more important than ever.

  • 33 Barry SEO Mandel // Nov 4, 2010 at 9:11 am

    It seems to me that Google with this move is at some point going charge for the map listings and it’s another move on their part to eliminate yellow pages. They tested this in other part of the country and they charge 25.00 per listing. Good bye to SEO since a first page listing is now below the fold.

  • 34 Bede Fahey // Nov 4, 2010 at 9:50 am

    @barry where did you hear/see/read about them testing in another part of the country and charging $25 per listing? Where was it tested? Is it still in existence?

    I’ve not experienced or read of what you’re talking about. Is it possible you’re confusing it with Places Tags?

  • 35 Brian // Nov 4, 2010 at 10:40 am

    There is no goodbye to SEO here – the places data is being added to the organic listing in many cases

    For Example: Google Search “Saskatoon Window” you’ll see our client Windecor Windows at the top – these are organic listings you will notice some not all have the places data included

    but is you click the Places Search link on the left you get a places return which are completely different (although some common entries)

    Thirdly if you are in Saskatoon or set your Custom Location to Saskatoon, SK and then search for the term “Window” you get yet a different return altogether of a single organic, a selection of 7 places listings plus an images return for a truly blended search return.

    So depending upon the term and how it is searched – paying attention to use of regional qualifiers, the specific search term etc.

    You also have to look to Googles motives, a good place to start is watching the youtube video for the Android voice controlled GPS system for immediate needs to have an accurate owner verified listings database, look way into the future at the self driven car (they’ve actually been testing in California)

    The focus is of course provide the most relevant results for the search entered, so for local products optimization of Google Places Listings is imperative for category (directory heading) style search terms, but for more diverse terms SEO is still imperative

    A good example is the Windecor Windows example above in which only 10-15 percent of their web traffic is coming from the Google Places directory listings.

  • 36 Emiel // Nov 8, 2010 at 3:47 am

    I call it the Google Blender.
    They seem not to know themselves what the output will be for local search terms. It’s like a blender, the result tastes different each time, even with same ingredients.

    I’m not happy (understatement) with what im seeing so far.
    About 50% of the local businesses I work for dropped in rank, due to the new blender presentation (most of them are in real estate).

    Its a serious change and Google slaps businesses which one by one exist longer than Google does… I mean, a drop of 50% in views and ctr’s thats a goddamn serious change.

    Up to me it’s a non existing discussion about (death of) SEO.
    It is, so far it seems to me, even a step back (less local, more general optimisation of sites).

  • 37 Eric Itzkowitz // Nov 9, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    There is no way Google is going to keep each of these UIs. I’m fairly certain they’ll pick a more standard format over the next couple of months. I like the standard listings more than the other mashups–yuk.

    For those of you who bid into the 4th+ paid listing, to what extent have you seen a decrease in clicks (CTR)?

  • 38 Andrew Shotland // Nov 9, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Not sure GOOG is thinking short term re CTR on ads. If they can bring a lot of small biz advertisers into the system with this change, the long term revenue will dwarf what they are making on AdWords today.

  • 39 Jake Martin // Nov 10, 2010 at 12:43 am

    I’m not a huge fan of these “updates”… although I certainly see the benefit in pushing down the mega-directories.

    Not very userfriendly though, and I feel like the results are “too busy”.

  • 40 Stan Denman // Mar 1, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I have noticed a conflict between the new google local SERP and the new “boost ads”. Specifically, I am placing as pin A on some key search terms for my area. A competitor has now started a Boost ad, and now appears as a Blue “A” pin in the Google Adwords top section. So if you look at the page in total, there are two “A” pins: my competitors blue Boost ad pin, and my red “A” pin. I think that look is very confusing, and I am a bit worried my competitor will be getting my traffic.

  • 41 CozyWD // Jan 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

    This is just what I have been looking for when trying to explain Google Local SERP’s to people.

    There is only 1 problem… I cannot find the date anywhere! And you know how fast Google changes things…

    I thought I would get lucky and find it in the comments but you don’t date those either!

    If this is a clever trick to get me to subscribe, it is going to work. I guess that is part of being so clever. Anyway, thanks for the great explanation of SERP’s

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