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Google Just Changed the Game on Local Search

29 Oct Posted by in Blog, Local Search, SEO | 4 comments
Google Just Changed the Game on Local Search

If Local Search Marketing was hot before last week it’s now smoking hot!  We’re going to tell you what has changed in Local Search, What it means for your business and how you can leverage these changes to your advantage so keep reading.

By the way, we’ve previously blogged over at on how to Optimise your Local Business for Search so you may want to check that out after this post to refresh your memory on how to optimise your free Local Search listing in Google Places.

Only couple of days ago, Google introduced a big change in its result page that is affecting Local search and Local search marketing.

What happened to Google result page?

Up until recently, when typing a local search query (e.g. Montville accommodation), the Google result page included a 7 Pack at the top, followed by organic web results:

Now, when typing the same search query (“Montville accommodation”) in, this is the resulting page:

Quite a big difference right? Where has the Google Maps box gone?

Google is Committed to Local!

  • As you can see, Google has eliminated 7-Pack and the new search engine result page (SERP) offers more local results spread all over the page, thus making the local experience on Google SERP much deeper and knocking some of the organic results that could have been your business!
  • The Map itself has been moved on the right side of the page
  • The local results are surrounded by more information:

– There’s a complete description of the business (including address and phone number)

–  Also, third party sites such as True Local, TripAdvisor, TotalTravel etc are “clustered” around the base of the local search listing

– Reviews and Google Place pages are associated with each listing on the SERP:


  • Most of the clustered links on SERPs appear to be coming from the same references that Google puts in Place Pages’ “reviews from around the web”
  • Most of the other web results (e.g. directories and publishers) have completely disappeared from the 1st page, aside from a few “big names” which still preserve their presence either at the top or at the bottom of the result page as shown below

    local search directories

    Users can now “filter” the results based on “Places”:

    search options places

    • The old “Maps” icon took users directly into Google Maps
    • Now ‘Places’ filters results and shows only local listings

    What are the implications for your business?

    With Google Place listings now dominating the 1st page of Google for local searches it’s safe to stay that If you are not listed among them for a given local search phrase, there’s a HIGH chance that web searches will not see your organic listing and you’ll miss the opportunity to get the lions share of targeted traffic to your website.

    How can my AdWords Ads be affected?

    While the top AdWords results (the ones that Google perceives to have the greatest authority) preserve the location at the top of the page, the small map on the right actually pushes the others (less relevant) down the page on the right, meaning the money businesses spend on AdWords may not be as effective as it was, as users are less likely to see them.

    Also, when scrolling down the page, the map on the right moves with the scroll and it can cover the AdWords results. So unless the user is immediately attracted by the ones on the right (which is very unlikely) the scroll on the page will hide them even more.

    This means that now more than ever, focusing on the quality of your AdWords campaigns is essential in order to get your sponsored results visible at the top of the page and attract users clicks.

    Focus on Google Local results

    The bottom line is that now more than ever it is essential for you to show up in Google’s first page when with your local business listing.

    How can you do that?

    UntangleMyWeb has analysed the new Place search result page and we have come up with a few easy, practical and effective tips that you can start implementing immediately:

    1. If you haven’t done it already, register your business on Google Places or claim your Google Places data and fill the listing with the basic information related to your business.
    2. When writing the title, put the location name at the very beginning!
    3. Your business description should be compelling and keyword rich. This is the place where you can promote the uniqueness of your business and the top features of it. What is of your business that makes it unique among all the others?
    4. Add images, video and product/service descriptions to your page. Add custom fields to get more relevant content. Spend time getting the right Places categories.
    5. Make sure you create an account on the following travel reviews websites:


      We recommend all of them, but both Tripadvisor and Totaltravel are absolutely essential! 

    1. Get Reviews! reviews on your Google Places page and from other major review sites are a key ingredient for higher local ranking and have become an expectation from shoppers. Put special focus on  Tripadvisor and Totaltravel, which are given greater weight compared to the others.
    2. Start using the Places Posting feature to add fresh content!
    3. Try out Google Tags: tags are yellow markers that allow business owners to promote important aspects of their businesses.
    4. A few major travel portals and directories still play a part in the result page, so you should consider getting listed on them (also here, the more the better)


    1. Local directories or DMO that have the keywords in the domain name (e.g. queenslandholidays) can also be considered for either a listing or reviews (or both). Contact them personally asking if they would be happy to get your business listed on their website.

    Need help?

    If you are keen to get the most out of Local search and of your business listing and you feel the need for assistance, have 3 fixed price set-up and optimisation packages to ensure your Local Search listing is performing to it’s full potential.

    Don’t forget our online marketing forums are open and available to all members providing you exclusive access to our team of web and search marketing professionals.

    If you haven’t taken advantage of the discounted 5 month membership for $88 made available by the AusIndustry Small Business Online Program then I suggest you head over to and register for the virtual workshop program today as time is running out!

    Written by

    Adam is a director of UntangleMyWeb. He has 13 years experience in web technology and business transformation at a senior level in the energy and information industry. His key strengths lie in online marketing, project management, strategic planning, technology utilisation, software development and people management.

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