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SERRPS and “Places” are Two Different Things.. Google Just Doesn’t Seem to Get That

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Posted by steve on July 18, 2011 at 8:52 am

Have you noticed the new search result look Google has been returning when you do a local business search? No? Well give it a try!

Google has Integrated “Places” Into Their Organic Listings

Google’s 7 pack has lived up to the rumors surrounding it, moving to the right side of the screen above paid advertisements… Kind of. The 7 pack has been shoved into the organic search results and the map has moved to the right hand column.

So far our initial research has shown that the 7 pack results are being placed into the organic results either as a “block”, similar to the previous style, sans map, or integrated into the results themselves.

 Changing the Local Search Results…. Why? 

Of course no one but the inner circle at Google really knows why they made the change but I would bet that this move has been driven by the trend to mobile internet (smartphone) use . Google reads the same studies that we do and that data indicates that when someone is searching for a local product or service they plan to make a local off-line purchase and so it makes sense to integrate their “Places” data.

What This Change Means for Your Business

Nobody could tell you how much a “Places” listing will help your business, but it is clear that if you dont have an account you had better look into getting one . And, since Google rarely lists more than 7 “Places” listings within the results page it’s imperative that you win on this new battlefield.

Do I Need A Website Anymore?

You may be asking yourself why the heck do I need a website if I can have SERPS listing without out one!  Here’s what you need to remember. When your potential customers go online and search, they are not looking to buy right away. They are looking for information. (credibility factors, education, trust factors) If all you have listed is a phone number and no website, you’re probably going to lose.   Also, the growing trend of mobile means that you not only need a website, but a website that people can navigate no matter where they are .

Finally, don’t think for a minute that this is the end of Google’s latest shift on local search results . This is just the beginning and if I  were a betting man I would bet that Google will soon be giving extra weight to those businesses that have both a “Places” listing AND a high quality, content rich site. It only makes sense, right?

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