Posted October 28, 2010 12:05 am by with 8 comments

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Google appears to have officially rolled out the new look SERP’s which places much more importance on a business’ Place Page listing. Google has been playing with these changes for the past several months and we talked about it back in early July along with leaders in the local search space.

The bottom line is this. Google moved a significant internal player (Marissa Mayer) into the local space. They claim that over 20% of total searches have a local element. Now, they are making much more room for these listings in places that are normally reserved for Google’s holy grail, the paid search ad. You don’t need to be first in your class to see that Google is banking on local for the future and that more monetization techniques (i.e. the introduction of Boost) are just around the corner.

Here are some screen shots of the new look local SERP’s. I won’t explain everything to you because you can see the implications yourself and there has been a very good overview of these new results pages done by Greg Stirling over at Search Engine Land.

Here’s what I will say though. While these changes are something that our industry will get giddy over it won’t mean much unless something happens. That something is that Google and the rest of the industry gets the word out to all businesses and they do it in plain English. Drop the code words and industry speak. It’s lame. If we want to talk to each other in local search geek that’s fine but let’s start teaching the people who need to do this for their business, the SMB (small and medium business) owner and marketer, and let’s stop confusing them.

I have proposed this at other times but after a recent experience I had at LMX (Local Marketing Expo) in Virginia Beach, VA I truly think this is the way that Google needs to go. They need to hire a person (more like a lot of people) who will translate their engineering brilliance into terms that regular people can hear and apply. I know it sounds silly but even Google makes mistakes and the biggest one they are making now is not talking in plain English to the people who need these services desperately.

I don’t think it’s malicious or even intended but it’s real. It will keep even the mighty Google from making the money and having the impact that it truly could have for the vast majority of businesses in the US, the SMB. If Google would just talk in plain English and stop thinking that just because some engineer used his/her logic to explain a process ‘clearly’ that everyone will get it, we will all be better off.

The reality is that most don’t get it because they are business people and not engineers. In fact, most people don’t use Google like Google thinks. I would love to know what their predictions are of how many people will actually find and click on the Places link on the left side of their homepage in order to get more Place Page info. Why? I know a local leader of a chamber of commerce that still types a URL into the Google search bar to get to a site. Does that sound like someone who understands Google? There are a lot of people like this but Google rolls on like everyone just gets it. They are wrong.

But I guess I am asking a lot from a company that has a CEO that seems to think the more bizarre the claim the better it is for the company.

What’s your take?

  • This is certainly the hot topic of the day. So far what I’ve seen for most local businesses has been really interesting. Good luck educating the masses. 🙂

  • Has anybody else noticed that the map is fixed – ie. if you scroll down the map remains in the top right corner and goes over the Adwords ads when the screen resolution is bigger than 1024 by 768?

    • When Google tinkers with its cash cow you have to suspect that something big is afoot. This whole change will have a serious ‘wait and see’ element as all things Internet do but this is one to watch for sure. Keep checking in!

  • I think local searches are going to be the future and it just seems Google just try to think of new ways to improve their engine everyday.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • very new and hot topic thanks for this information

  • Local search? Oh, no, just hate that. What happen if I want to search for an English site but Google just shows some local non-English sites ( with some English words on them!). That’s annoying!

  • Cynthia

    I’d like to know what sparked this big push toward “Local?” Is it just a trend whose time has come again or is it related to the growth in mobile applications? I just always find it funny that a mechanism that has always been about connection people around the globe is now spearheading the move to get me to buy coffee from the guy up the street.

  • david

    This is a scary time for internet companies that offer services in multiple cities without having a physical address. Ranking in the organic search listings will no longer have the same value if the local places feature dominates the first page.

    In the blink of an eye, thousands of successful internet companies just realized that the fate of their company lied in the fact that Google’s search engine would not dramatically change.

    Today could very well be the beginning of the end for many internet companies, and could be the rise of the traditional brick and mortar business.

    Its ironic that Google, which is an internet company, just alienated many of the internet companies that made it successful.

    SEO marketers are going to have a field day spamming Google’s local maps!