BIG NEWS: Google BLEND is HERE!
What’s that you say? A change to the way Google reports it’s findings for your search terms? And what does that mean for us SEO practitioners and our client rosters?
Not much, at least for our client roster, it appears — at least so far IMHO! But let’s get into this whole big change shall we?
First, there used to be “two” google algos — one for the Google Places search engine results that cataloged your LOCAL search…you know, click on MAPS, then enter “plumbers in Hamilton” and up came the listings for same, and this was according to Google about 20% of the total number of searches (approx. 3.5 billion) daily or 600 million folks used the Places areas. The other algo, was for the usual Google web results seaches (approx. 2.9 billion daily) where someone wanted to look “further afield” than in their own community for information. This is how things “used to be!” Not anymore, as Google last week changed the game, the rules, and yes, they combined the algos so that now, when you go to google.ca and say enter “lawyers in Hamilton,” you get what I call the Google BLEND and all the results are now on the same page, ie LOCAL is combined with web results…pls do go and try that entry in your own community.
Referring to the image above, note the #1 circle entry. This is new and up at the top of the left-hand sidebar and this now lists the word PLACES. This is a direct link to the old Google MAPS area, that will take your already entered phrase and drive it back into that new single algo, and come up with a more LOCAL set of results…ie this will totally ignore the normal BLEND of both LOCAL and web results.
Now look down at the #2 circle I’ve got there on the BLEND page and note the new little red PLACES icons each with it’s own corresponding letter? Then look over at the top of the right-hand sidebar – my #3 circle, and note the map covering the area that Google is reporting on, with again the same corresponding letters to help you identify the location of the various lawyers for your further information. On my own BLEND page, I note that my own A listing is for Ross & McBride, and that the map on the right-hand sidebar quite accurately shows their location in down-town Hamilton. This, I believe is of great help to anyone who searches for a lawyer (or anything really) and needs to determine the location of same within their own community.
And that’s not all, either. Look here at a blowup of the list of those LOCAL lawyers, each with their own red PLACES icon….
Note for me the right-hand column that hold the notes on each, and especially for Scarfone Hawkins — and see the “3 Reviews” text link insert above the Place Page one? Click on that, either will do and you’ll be sent to that listing’s Place page — go ahead, what do you see? Yes, it opens up that listings full Place page, and shows the reviews, from customers of same it appears and you can read that review there too. I note that the site has been verified by the owner, the law firm I expect and that all there is as it should be. So why do I mention same?
All the Google Places review issue. Many many of us have noted that many many businesses and firms have been apparently guilty of using spammed reviews to gain some traction in the Google Places or MAPS areas. I wrote about same here, as did many many other SEO practitioners and that appears to NOT have changed with this new Google BLEND serp reports either like Mike here or David here on similar issues. Of course, a few months back, Google gave us business owners the opportunity to respond on those reviews and Matt covers that perfectly right here…
Yes, I know…if fraudulent reviews can be written and posted, then won’t that “water down” the value of same? Yes, it will in our opinion….and we wait and see what Google will do about that…
Until then, we’re still banging away at all the various possibilities that now appear to show up on a web results Google serp page…they vary too, by the way, in that not all the pages show the exact same resulting layouts for various search terms. Google it appears is rolling this out slowly and in sections it appears from their various server farms….your mileage may vary I mean by that. But DO look at your own listing and run various keyword phrases through Google’s web results to check and see what your own prospective customers/clients are seeing…for instance here’s a totally messed up serp result again for “lawyers in Hamilton” but note the top 3 PPC adverts on the lavendear background are all for plumbers (that’s a hoot, everyone knows plumbers make more $$$ than lawyers, eh!)? Here’s a quick screen shot of same…
Oh, the term I used for this change in the Google web results serps is the “Google BLEND” — it’s my own and there are a lot of various new names for this online….you can call it of course whatever you like or use Google’s own term which is “Place Search”….or click below to see some variations on same, eh!
- David Mihm – The 0-Pack
- Miriam Ellis – Local Search
- Mike Blumenthal – Loco Organic
- Matt McGee – the KEG
- Andrew Shotland – Split Pack