Back in October I coined the phrase Proximity Lockout and blogged a change in how Google blended listings worked. In a nutshell, a new proximity radius was added in most cities that meant you would not rank in blended unless you were very close to city center. Businesses who were A or B, became disconnected from their Place page and lost their map pin, Place page link and precious reviews. They were left with only an organic listing.

YEA! The ranking radius has been opened up in most markets. Many of my clients who were on page 1 but got locked out, just popped back on page 1 and several are back in the A spot where they belong!

Just like in the October post I’ll use Queen Anne Chiropractic as an example because their map and proximity lockout was so obvious. The change that took place last week is DRAMATIC!

DURING PROXIMITY LOCK OUT EXAMPLE: Zoom into my SERPS screen shot for Seattle Chiropractor 10/18/11. See how tight the map is? Only downtown Chiros ranked and Queen Anne, lost their map pin and blended A spot ranking, EVEN THOUGH they have always ranked on to AND they are only about a mile north of downtown. (They still ranked #2 but with an organic listing only.)

NO PROXIMITY LOCK OUT EXAMPLE TODAY: Now zoom in to see the SERPS today – Seattle Chiropractor 2/8/12. (Click to expand) See how far out the map is zoomed to make room for all deserving city Chiros? Now Queene Anne ranks A again, back where they belong!

Attaboy Plumbing, is an Indianapolis Plumber that came to me for consulting back in May when the proximity lockout 1st hit their market. Back then no one could figure out why they lost their pin and became disconnected from their Place page. Eventually I attributed it to the prox lockout, once I identified the phenom. Well I guess I was correct, because even though they are WAY outside the previously tight radius, the proximity opened way up and they rank A again, just like they should.

May lockout- tight radius – no Attaboy. Compare to today’s screen shot.
Wide open map radius – Attaboy is A again!

Mike just blogged the nitty gritty details of the radius issues and shares his insights and some screen shots and examples. Head over there if you want to learn more. Many Google Places Searches Are Showing an Increased Radius For Search Results

Noticed the change last week and have been trying to find time to blog – also wanted to be sure this change was going to stick. Many other top local SEOS I network with are seeing positive changes in this regard for listings all over the world too. So it looks like this is the new normal – for awhile at least, I hope.

Anyone else get their blended ranking back or seeing any other interesting changes???