Posted November 2, 2011 3:29 am by with 5 comments

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Google continues to test new and interesting ways to provide information when searching for places of interest. While many have complained about how information was in a sense taken away from Place Page results, we now see some of the information resurfacing in the SERP’s. Take a look at the example below of a local restaurant in Raleigh, NC. Normally there would be a simple map in the right column but Google now providing pictures, information about the restaurant and a pegman street view option to click on as well. All in all, it’s a nice result page.

The Inside Search blog gives some more information about this move.

This new type of layout may appear on the search results page for a range of real-world places — restaurants, hotels, local businesses, landmarks, museums and more. Of course, the local information that appears will vary depending on what’s available online. So the next time you plan your visit to the New England Aquarium or Fenway Park, you might be able to check out their opening hours, get directions, and find the nearest transit stops, all from a simple Google search.

Google is once again playing with the local search formula but this time it is not including the place page. In fact, it is moving place page information to the main SERP rather than keeping it a click away in the place page. Does this mean that place pages are less important? That’s not likely. In fact, where place pages are most likely to be integrated into the Google ecosystem is ultimately through Google+. It’s the perfect place to give that kind of information in the place page format.

The idea of giving more information on the first page that you see in a search just makes more sense from a user’s perspective. What would be very interesting is if Google started to give one result this kind of treatment when a more general search is conducted. Imagine the power of being the “showcased” restaurant or destination when a more broad search is conducted like “italian restaurant raleigh, nc”. That kind of position in the SERP’s and the factors that would get someone there will make local SEO’s heads spin.

But for now this use of the SERP real estate for a direct search makes sense for all involved. After all, if someone is looking for specific information about a specific place why not present as much as you can in the SERP rather than making the searcher dig deeper?

So what’s your take? Do you like this kind of search result?

  • “We’ve also started incorporating data about sites people have blocked into our general search ranking algorithms to help users find more high quality sites,”

    Let’s hope this does not turn out a feature that allows governments, corporations, and other SIGs to suppress less-flattering sites by simply ranking them down into invisibility.
    Raising the question: Is there any ranking algorithm not vulnerable to manipulation?

  • For the end user, this is great as it makes it easier to both recognize and recommend websites. I like the way places is developing 🙂

  • Seems good for the end user, and the business, as long as the business website is optimised and active with Google.

    • With results like this that are likely being populated first by the Google Places data a business provides (or doesn’t provide) it is more important than ever to have your business information up to date with Google. So basic yet so under utilized.

  • I think the latest update by Google is really nice. Yesterday i was searching for some citation sources for my site, and i noticed that something was very different from day before yesterday. I think these changes are making search more easy & user friendly.

    The best part is indeed the preview of the site that shows up when we enter the search terms and result is shown!