Google Local Listings New Layout in Testing Phase
Is This the Downfall of Local Directory Sites?
A couple of weeks ago Linda Buquet of Catalyst eMarketing noticed that Google were testing a new layout for local search results. The screenshots and notes were posted over on Mike Blumenthals blog and as well as an updated post on Linda’s own blog.
The Main changes according to Linda are:
1 – The Places listings are 3 times BIGGER and look like the organic results except they have a map pin.
2 – It’s pulling meta description from the site – just like organic. PLUS it adds some snippets from reviews on the Place page. So best of both worlds and BIGGER!
3 – As you scroll down the MAP scrolls with you. So even when you are at bottom of page in the organic listings the map moves down and shows on right.
4 – ONLY 7 (purely) organic listings show and in this instance most are directories or assn. Only 2 are Dentists.
5 – To get on the top TWO screens you need to be in local. Most of the organic are 2 screens BELOW the fold.
6 – Reviews are more prominent
7 – Link to Place Page is marked as such, instead of just “More Info” which means better branding and name recognition for Google Places
Why would Google bring in these changes?
Introducing a layout like this could lead to a potentially massive increase in income for Google from both Google Places and Adwords. Sooner than later all of the listings within Google Places will be using the newly introduced Google Tag ad to promote their services. This feature along with the sponsored listings means that any searches carried out with local intent will be a potential goldmine in revenue for Google through paid clicks.
If this change does come into effect, who are the winners and who are the losers?
Local directory sites like GoldenPages.ie, Yelp.ie and Menupages.ie will see a massive reduction in organic traffic due to their rankings being pushed to the bottom of page 1 or page 2. I wonder did Google’s failure to takeover Yelp influence the possible new layout. I think Andrew Shotland’s hilarious yet fitting post ‘Dead Fingers Walking?’ is an excellent account of how the local directory sites will feel.
And the winners?
Well, apart from Google, any businesses that have a well optimised local search campaign in place.
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