Steve Shackford‘s tweet got me thinking:
@localseoguide Expedia-like move from Google’s algo today on “Dallas Hotels”. http://t.co/EeM4m7Kl8s jumped to #1. pic.twitter.com/SkzigIRSuH
— Steve Shackelford (@HydrophobicDuck) August 7, 2014
We are definitely seeing a lot more national-local directory type sites showing up at the top of local SERPs as a result of Google removing or de-emphasizing the local pack results. For the most part I am seeing strong brands like Yelp, TripAdvisor & Zillow basically maintaining their high rankings now often unencumbered by those pesky Google My Business pack results.
There has been a lot of speculation, particularly by me, that this update is a continuation of Google’s drive to bias the search experience in favor of mobile users. But I wonder if this update is also an acknowledgement that people actually prefer these national-local directory type sites v. having to hunt through a seemingly random collection of local business pages or Los Links?
Song to ponder this to: Sabotage
6 Response Comments
Sorry to see Google leaving (modifying) the local space. As a former local business owner, Google was the only player to really support and promote local bricks-and-mortar businesses.
Many of the others like Yelp and Local.com were simply promoting businesses that were buying zip codes and directing local buyers to online services. I guess the mobile device has changed that scenario.
I never understood why Google gives national directories so much respect. If I’m looking for a local pizza restaurant, I want Google to provide local pizza restaurants, not five others sites that provided list of sponsored pizza restaurants then some local ones buried at the bottom.
If Google’s goal is to provide the best results to the user, quit giving us YP and other paid directory listings.
Quite agree Jeff. These national directories are as compromised as the Yellow Pages and totally manipulated to the detriment of “real” local businesses.
As I have thought more about it, I am not sure my thesis for this post is correct. If Google has decided that people don’t like to have to pick through a collection of local business links, I am not sure how sending them to Yelp or Trip Advisor or whatever solves the problem. Those sites are basically collections of local business links with a ton of noise, er I mean reviews.
The more I think about it, the more I think this is a ten steps back to to go five steps forward kind of update.
The rise of the local directories in SERPs seems to fly in the face of “KEEP ALL THE TRAFFIC ON GOOGLE AND OFF SITES THAT ALSO DIRECT TRAFFIC TO AN END SITE” direction they’ve been heading in for the past 7 years or so.
Some have posited this might have something to do with Google staving off anti-trust litigation like they are seeing in Europe. I think that may be true but also feel like you do Andrew that this is an admittance by Google that their Local SERPs are fundamentally broken.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this is temporary and we see a whole new way of local search results being displayed in the future. Think filtering, clickable directory categories and so on.
Who knows, maybe Google just gives up completely and sends people back to DMOZ results again and all of us old-timers can bemoan the fact we got lazy and lost our editor privileges ten years ago. 😀
Content is still King, Yelp and others bring quality content to the end users. The folks trust these sites, it’s a good move by Google.