The whole Google search landscape is changing over the next few days. Are you ready? It looked at 1st like like Google was starting to roll out more tests of the new search results layout, but Google just announced the test results I’ve been seeing off and on for a few months are ROLLING OUT LIVE RIGHT NOW! This is a RADICAL departure from the current search results page layout and will have a big impact on Google Places local maps ranking, organic ranking, Adwords and directories.
Yesterday people all over the world starting seeing expanded testing of the new layout. Here is a screen shot I received from my friend Blair Campbell, who’s a Local SEO specialist from RankAhead.ca. He’s based in Canada, but was seeing the new layout even when he did searches in the US.
In a quick nutshell, the map is on the right and scrolls down the page with you. The Google Places (local map) listings are much bigger and are like a combined local and organic ranking. The big difference is that local listings that are driven by Place pages and the LOCAL ranking algo are MUCH more prominent and organic rankings are pushed way down the page.
Today more and more people started seeing the new layout and then Google officially announced that they are rolling it out.
Place Search: a faster, easier way to find local information
Place Search is rolling out now and will be available globally in more than 40 languages in the next few days. During the roll-out process you can use this special link to preview the new results. Our goal is to help you feel like a local everywhere you go!
One of the biggest changes small business people need to be aware of, initially at least, is that is that now the 1st picture on your Google Place page will also now show up in the search results. So be sure your Place page is claimed and you have a good image posted.
Last night I started reading all of Andrew Shotland’s posts about the changes and he includes a variety of good screen shots. Then today I’m trying to catch up on all the other posts. Here’s a list of Andrew, Mike and Matts posts. I’ll try to come back and add more as I find them.
Back story: In July, I was the 1st to see these new layout tests Google was running and I broke the 1st story about the new layout on Mike Blumenthal’s blog. A Google PR person posted on Mike’s blog something like “this is only a test” to calm people down. However, I was sure these changes would be coming soon. I just didn’t really expect it to be this soon!
Also see my previous post on the testing here:
Google Places Update Could Radically Change the SEO Game
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