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Google Makes Bold Experiments With Local SERPs

Many search bloggers have had a lot to talk about the past few days after local search expert Mike Blumenthal (or more accurately, one of his loyal readers) shared screenshots showing Google making some bold experiments with its local search results [1]. I haven’t been able to duplicate the search results displayed on Mike’s blog, so I’d encourage you to head over there to get the full scoop on what Google’s been up to. However, here’s one of the screenshots Mike provides, as well as some of my own thoughts as to what’s going on and what it means.

[1]

As you can see, there are a lot of interesting things to note. For example:

According to a Google spokesperson (via Search Engine Land [2]), the experiment is only being shown to a small number of users. Its aim is to make it faster and easier for people to find businesses and places of interest near them.

Upon reading Mike’s post, I was really surprised to see Google making some bold changes to its results and integrating local results right in with traditional organic ones. The changes may give small business owners a glimpse into what Google is thinking about and what they view as important in ranking.

Some things to take from this:

If it sounds like I’m emphasizing the same things we’ve been emphasizing a lot it’s because with this change, Google’s really looking to combine everything that’s been gaining importance over the past year. Reviews, claiming your listings, Google Place Pages, etc. While the search engine may not keep the exact format being shown, it goes give you a glimpse into where Google may be looking to go. That means while the above information may have been good best practices to follow before, now they’re even more important now.

Have you spotted any of Google’s new experimentation in the wild?