As you probably know, I have been on the lookout for signs that Google was squeezing local directories out of the SERPs. While the launch of Google+ Local is not necessarily the death knell for IYPs getting organic traffic, it certainly is yet another omen, kind of like what happened at Damien’s birthday party (that clown always killed me):

Currently Google+ Local is subordinate to Google’s traditional (as of the past few months at least) Google Maps/Places/Pack results. When you search via, you only get G+ results if you have “show personal results” on.

Now let’s pretend that Larry makes good on his promise to make Google+ a layer over everything Google does. That could also mean that Google’s standard local search interface starts looking a lot more like Google+ Local than it does now. And as the illustration at the top of this post shows, directories ain’t part of the mix.

Even if Google never fully merges traditional search SERPs and Google+ SERPs, as G+ amasses more data I don’t see how Larry will be able to resist populating the traditional SERPs with more and more of it, and as David pointed out, it’s not like there’s a lot of room there for everyone else now.

For those who miss the subtlety:

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13 Response Comments

  • Nyagoslav  June 8, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Actually, right now IYPs have some chances of stealing a little bit of traffic while Google is figuring out what you describe above. The reason – currently the only way to get the ratings 5-star (hopefully) snippet in the organic search results is via an organic web result. The new Google+ pages are not displaying them. Additionally, the IYPs might want to go into the “authorship”/”ownership” business and steal even more traffic with owner pics showing next to the results. All they’d need to do is make the verification process a bit different – the business owner should be obliged to put a link back to their own page on the business directory. Win-win.

  • Andrew Shotland  June 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Good point Nyagoslav. I have been advising clients that the best path the + is the authorship/ownership strategy. The owner pics next to your URLs in the SERPs + links is an unbelievable win if you can make it happen.

  • David Mihm  June 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

    +11 for Nyagoslav’s comment…any IYP’s out there need some consulting?? 😉

    Really good post, Andrew. Spot on.

  • Phil Rozek  June 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for the great post!

    Intuitively I see how it’s possible that Google’s “standard local search interface starts looking a lot more like Google+ Local than it does now,” but I just don’t see how that would be *probable*.

    Unless Larry just gets a thrill up his leg every time he faces an antitrust lawsuit, I just don’t see that Google would continue showing more and more Google properties in the “standard” local SERPs. It seems to me that a more likely strategy is the following: “Let’s keep the IYPs around in our normal SERPs so that at least the FTC stays away, but let’s push everyone to get on Plus, where we really can show as many Google properties as we’d like.”

    It just seems that, despite how hard Google has pushed and will continue to push Plus, it has every interest in keeping the IYPs around in the standard, non-Plus search results. That keeps some of the antitrust pressure off. Meanwhile, Google can include whatever it wants in Plus – and push as many people as possible to use it. Like George Costanza, they’ll want to keep their “two worlds” from colliding 🙂

  • Tom Bradley  June 9, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Hi, small local business in the UK here, love the help I get from reading you guys, and thanks.

    Not being an expert could you please explain Nyagoslav’s point about ownership verification and Andrew’s ‘I have been advising clients that the best path the + is the authorship/ownership strategy’?

    Read the (great) post and comments twice and can’t quite get what this means you are supposed to do?

    Thanks for any help.

    • Andrew Shotland  June 9, 2012 at 7:20 am

      Tom, we are referring to how if you can get others to connect their Google+ profiles to a page on your site, then their G+ profile pictures can show up next to your URLs in the SERPs, which in theory could result in more clicks.

  • Thad Winston  June 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Andrew I am grateful for the many insights you constantly bring to the table. G Plus Local does appear to be poised to be a foundation to gently coerse an even larger portion of the Page for Google and only Google, oh I mean God knows what this means in terms of ads appearing on the page. I’m expecting that the Adwords will be mandatory for all business owners because God, oh I mean Google will be advertising business owner’s competitors on each G Plus Local page. By the way, Nyagoslav – crazy good idea for the directories. Thanks again Andrew.

  • Kristinn Didriksson  June 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Google Search used to have an egalitarian feel to it, that is why it has been so popular, IMHO. It was the gateway to the web (and still is). As they move more and more to being a gateway to more Google products, aren’t they going to start losing customers?
    Also, thanks for the ownership/authorship tip.

  • B. Friendly  June 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    What about this partnering with Zagat? I’ve been trying to figure out how to get ahead of the curve and get my client listed with Zagat in some way, so the reviews show up in the Search Results. I’ve read Rich Snippets is “dead” (although how long until that happens is a good question), and I want the “plus” of the rich snippets display. It makes your client’s listing stand-out. It says “I am special and probably better than everyone else on this list.”

    BUT, Zagat is geared for restaurants only. How does a non-restaurant get included into the Zagat listings, so that they can then start getting reviews?

  • Nick Stamoulis  June 11, 2012 at 6:29 am

    This recent change is causing some confusion because business owners now essentially have two places that they need to manage in Google+ (if they have a G+ page and a Local page). Eventually they will somehow be connected, but it’s been interesting to see how Google rolls these things out in pieces.

  • Jeffrey Magner  June 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    All my friends in the Bay Area (that’s the San Francisco Bay Area) search on Yelp for all things local. Especially now they don’t bother with Google so much. If I was Yelp I’d be jumping for joy with Google’s blundering ways of late.

  • Mike Deets  August 14, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I want to say that I like the way Google is thinking. Small business is our economic life blood and ironically my business is in direct competition with each other obviously on different planes. Go Google!…. Competition is good for us all. Oh and my company is on the first page of Google for the exact optimized keywords. “local directory in Pueblo…lol cheers!

    • Andrew Shotland  August 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      Congrats Mike. Now you just need people to search “local directory in Pueblo” and you are set…