Chris Silver Smith brings up a great point in today’s Local’s Only column about Google’s new local SERP design they are testing:

…you might think that the newer, larger listing treatment might be beneficial for the visibility of these businesses. But, think again—for any of them which have been doing significant search marketing activities, this sea change could easily result in far lower numbers of organic referrals. Companies which aggressively have been marketing themselves have often enjoyed placement within the 7-pack, as well as having their homepage ranked in the top organic results—real estate on the search result page in multiple places. Some even enjoyed presence in the top directory and social media pages that were ranking highly for the term as well. Under the new paradigm, these companies could lose overall referrals along with the spaces they enjoyed on the pages.

It virtually goes without saying that the change would negatively impact the CTRs of the sponsored listings in the right sidebar which will be pushed down by the new map position, too!

Over the past year, the Google Maps team has been working to reduce the amount of MAPSPAM that is rampant throughout the service.  But I still see plenty of it – check out Tim Coleman’s analysis of “new construction” as one of the killer local search ranking factors.

If SMBs lose access to a significant portion of page one inventory and traffic from their optimized IYP profiles gets choked off, I can’t see how this will do anything but increase the amount of SPAMMY techniques being used to rank in Google Maps.

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3 Response Comments

  • Mike Stewart  July 21, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Spammy techniques…. such as false addresses, multiple geography titles, claiming competitor listings, and fake reviews or negative reviews of competitors.

    One day Google will realize that although they have made improvements, they are far from a true “popularity and credibility” ranking system for local search…

    but hey…

    They are doing a much better job of making things fair and balanced vs the traditional local interactive directory publishers.

    One begins to wonder, what happens when “links” such as IYPs etc are no longer as important to Google’s Local Search Ranking Factors… or what happens when Google begins to devalue the effort of listing optimization across the fragmented local search landscape…

    Do you think guys like me will still have a job?

    We must face the fact that your cheese gets moved… that is why a passionate holistic approach by a student of search will kick a spammers ass any day!

  • Andrew Shotland  July 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Well put Mike although it seems to me in aggregate the spammers are the ones kicking ass at the moment.

  • Aurora Mesner  May 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I’m not so sure if this would be effective at all. A lot of techniques are now being “concocted” by these people just to get to the top.

    Although I would agree with Google if they change their techniques. It’s gonna make these spammers minds’ crazier by the minute LOL

    Aurora Mesner
    Small Business Accountants in Allentown