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Google Targets SEO Practitioners!

January 4, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: SEO 

Well, the word is out and I’m more than a bit upset by this news…it appears that Google is “targeting” us SEO practitioners in their web search engine index! How’s that — well, backstory first.

Go to, and say search for a “Hamilton plumbers” or “Hamilton plumbing firms” and what do you see? Yes, a web search results page that includes the Google Local search map with a 7-pack showing business names and addresses, URLs etc for those chosen by Google to be shown. Fine. I like that. We’ve got lots of clients who come up in these web results pages for services and products throughout the region and this is how it should be. This is a good thing, and we continue to do well for our clients knowing that Google offers up these listings for one and all….or do they? Here’s a shot of that search results screen….

As you can see, the local plumbers are all listed properly and the intent of the search was of course, to find a local plumber…i.e. this is how a local search should work, right?

However, all things are not as they appear, it appears. Now go back to and plug in “Hamilton SEO” or “Hamilton SEO firms” and what do you see? What Google shows for that query is the normal search results page WITHOUT any LOCAL firms being shown under the LOCAL search maps/business listings! Google has NOT made that search the “same” as the search for almost every other type of service/product. Why is that, you and we wonder?

Well, according to a Google spokesperson named Joel H this is the Google position — 

“Today, we’re intentionally showing less local results for web design / SEO queries. For example, [web design sacramento] doesn’t display local listings today. We believe this is an accurate representation of user intent. In some cases, we do show local listings, however —  [web design in bellingham]. I’m sure some of you feel we should be displaying local results for queries like [Web Design Vancouver]. I understand that concern, but based on our understanding of our users, we feel this is the right decision for now.

“I’ll give the usual disclaimer that we’re constantly working on improving the user experience and results will vary over time. So, this could change in the future, but I wanted to be explicit about what we’re doing today.”

What that means is that Google will be ‘blocking’ certain search query terms for LOCAL business city listing searches BUT they might include that missing LOCAL search results business listing, should the searcher include in the word “in.”

So back to our search, and here once again we used the “Hamilton SEO” query….and here’s what you see —

Note that the search results page DOES NOT show the LOCAL listings, eh? Okay, now let’s add back that “in” qualifier and run the same search query…and here’s the resulting search page….

Google has now included in the LOCAL maps with the local business listings….the “in” qualifier works for this type of business listing…but so what, you ask?

Think about that for a minute…why would Google differentiate between a Hamilton plumber and a Hamilton SEO company? And not just  we firms in the SEO business have been affected by this differentiation either…it appears that local ad agencys are affected, graphic design firms, logo design firms, web design firms and web developers too….all IMHO companies who work on the web….it appears have been affected by this Google edict.

And our question, like hundreds of other firms in our channel, is why?

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One Response to “Google Targets SEO Practitioners!”
  1. Tait says:

    That’s interesting. It could be that Google sees these kind of companies as being virtual. If you want a plumber in Hamilton you need him/her to physically be there, but that isn’t the case with web services.