Whether you are a local business owner or a local search marketing consultant you no doubt have recently been puzzled and/or even highly frustrated by the wide variety of search layouts that have been showing up ever since Google launched “Place Search” at the end of October. Try doing ranking checks all day like I do. Sometimes you’ll see the old 7, 3, 2 or 1 pack results and sometimes you see different variations of the new Google Place Search MERGED layout.

To keep things even more interesting, the algos switch when the display format changes. The new Place Search merged layout uses a new merged algo that takes organic SEO into account. Whereas the ‘pack’ layouts appear to still be based on the old Google Places algo.

Back in November I blogged and posted screen shots of some of the different Google search results layouts as a result of the new Place search. At 1st it appeared that the inconsistent and varied layouts were due to a partial roll out. Then many of us in ‘the biz’ assumed Google was still testing and that’s why the layouts were in flux and constantly changing.

Well Google just announced they are NOT still testing and we should continue to see a variety of layouts served up – as they, in their infinite wisdom, attempt to deliver the most relevant content. This, according to Matt McGee over at the Small Business Search Marketing blog.

Google Places Isn’t Testing New Layouts … Get Used to Variety

Before I post the images, here’s what a Google spokesperson said in response to seeing them:

“The layout for local search results will vary depending on how confident our algorithm is in determining if you’re looking for local information. So in some instances you might see a full Place Search page, and in others, you’ll see a more condensed view. Of course, you can always click on the “Places” icon on the left to get the full Place Search view.”

Head over to Matt’s blog to see screen shots of some of the different types of layouts and to read the rest of his post. Google Places Isn’t Testing New Layouts … Get Used to Variety

And see my post and screen shots here: New Google Place Search Shaking up Organic SEO Industry and Google Places Ranking