Old Universal Search
Today Google has changed the way its Google Universal Search performs with results it knows are local. Before when you searched for a sevice with a town in the search phrase e.g. Hair Salon London , a google map would display any local business’ it had in it’s database in that area.
Today when performing a search the Map is now to the right of the listing above the Sponsored Links and the local business listings are in the main organic search column. There is more room now for the business to display it’s google places description and a review if available. This change has confused me quite a bit, there is obiously positives and negatives for a whole range of stakeholders.
1) People who spend money on PPC and don’t have enough budget to make it to the top 3 items on the page are downgraded to the
New Universal Search
listings on the right of the page. You still get clicks but it’s not as prime position as the top of the page. These now will appear quite a bit further down the page , which means an even less priority placement on the page. When you scroll down the page the map on the right hand side, follows you down and actually flows over the top of the paid for listings! Local business will have to result to increasing their Adsense Budgets and maximum PPC to make sure they are visible at all on the top 3 results. Your probably looking at around 40p – 70p per click with some local campaigns I have worked on , which is quite an outgoing for one person business’!
2) The places results are now mimicking the look of the existing organic results only identifiable in their natural habitat by the Red Marker. This gives the user searching an advantage of more items available on a single page and according to google cuts down a users search to from 5 – 10 seconds to 2 seconds. Nice!
3) This now puts a huge strain on local business’ to optimise their Google Places listings. One thing I can recommend is CONTENT. Theres no denying google loves content, so make sure you use your google places account to the maximum by placing videos, photos and information about your business.
See what google have to say about Place Search