Google has just launched a bombshell on the SEO community called “Place Search”. Google Place Search will now replace the local 7-pack results with a larger, and more detailed 7-pack of results that takes up ¾ of the page. (If you cannot see it, simply add &esrch=LocalMergeImpl::Experiment to your search URL; it is still an experiment but will be rolled out the next several days.)
The biggest impact of the new Google Place Search is the disappearance of the organic result from the search engine results page. Now the organic results are forced way below the page fold and even then they are only showing 3-4 organic results. So, if your website ranked number 6 organically yesterday, today you are most likely on page 2! Yes, page 2, and as we all know the majority of people rarely ever continue past page one.
Google said “We’ve made results like this possible by developing technology to better understand places. … One of the great things about our approach is that it makes it easier to find a comprehensive view of each place.”
Personally, I think it is about money. Google is forcing small business owners to use a Google product instead of their website to gain exposure in their search engine. Now, claiming your Google local account is free, but for a small business owner to really stand out they will have to start using Google paid services like: Google Tag, Adwords, or even Google Boost.
Do you think it is coincidence that within one week Google Boost was announced, Google Tag no longer allowed you to promote your website, and now there is a new Places format? I think not. Google wants money!
Hopefully these simple tips can help combat any loss of ranking you may see. If you have been one of the lucky websites that have seen a ranking improvement from this rollout, don’t sit back, because your competitors will be fighting for your spot! I am sure that over the next several weeks, and even months, we will see more tips made public and more details on the impact of this rollout on small business owners.
I encourage you to share your own tips or experience below in the comment section or even write a blog post.