Dave

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Im going to reference the observation of a long time successful webmaster that doesn't do local. The main site this webmaster operates has been publishing very high quality content for a decade or so, yet the main site was hit by Panda type penalties in the past.

All content is deep researched and written by knowledgeable professionals. Its a source site for appropriate content. Yet it was hit by Panda in the past.

After seeing the google local change, on the desktop without phone numbers or addresses and a minimal link...he called it out for what it is......Low Quality content. You don't have the address. How does that help you find a local business. You don't have their phone number. What is that? Google has the information. But its not giving it out. Google stores it away so others can't see it.

On a mobile, a phone connection through google, but no address. No link.

Google has put itself into the potential middle man position for every business.

Pay us with advertising...and we may just start charging for phone calls...and you can't find the business....and frankly we are cutting back on link traffic to the web sites with how we devalued and minimized links.

Google is putting itself into the position of tax collector on all small businesses. They want to be "everyone's daddy". Not a good situation.

By the way...a Google "call button" instead of a phone number!!!!!! Google will look to collect on that. Middle man, tax collector, dominant rich "daddy" to all small businesses.

This is a very monopolistic situation and ugly.
 

Jordan Mulson

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Man, oh man! What a crazy, $ad-looking result.

Did you happen to read THIS PAGE where G explains all the hoops they're making home services providers jump through just to be qualified to 'pay to play' in this trio ad-set example you listed?

It's like they're trying to get a step ahead of Thumbtack - or cut them out altogether by butting in line.
 

Jim Froling

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Linda,
I think I may be most disappointed for you and other Top Contributors i.e. Mike Blumenthal, Joy Hawkins, et.al.

You guys have helped countless small businesses (& consultants) to navigate through the increasingly complex waters of local search on Google. No compensation expected or received. It blows me away, after your support, dedication, loyalty, that they never reach(ed) out to any of you beforehand stating "We have this idea...what do you think?".

If they had, I expect that the results, and future, we are grappling with now may not have occurred.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks so much Jim.

I'm still amazed they didn't talk to us and still have not commented.

But I don't think the folks we deal with on the local side had any say in it and I suspect maybe didn't even know the full plan of what was coming. Left hand/right.
 

Jim Froling

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Linda,
You are such a selfless, generous, giving love!

As a G TC, you are "amazed" (hurt?:confused:). Not being at your caliber, I can only be disappointed (and a bit pissed:mad:), for your treatment, our treatment, our betrayal.

Great timing:confused:. I have a bunch of meetings this week to pitch G Local SEO, AdWords, etc. Good thing these local networking groups only allow 20 seconds per pitch. I don't think any of us want to go into much more details just now.
 
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If I was in Google's position and I knew I would be upsetting a lot of people, I would make the changes, sit back, and let the people talk for a while before I made announcements. I'm thinking Google will make some tweaks and then come out with a statement or they could just pretend nothing happened and chug along as planned. To quote Victor Frank, "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
 

mborgelt

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As many negative aspects to this change exist I think like Justin said we should wait before we fully assess what happened. I have found a few positives of the new update. If you are in the top 3, the decision-making becomes easier for the user. This means less potential to get distracted by shopping around after seeing something on sites in positions D-F. If there is anything that I have learned about marketing as a whole, it is that the fewer decisions a person has to make the more inclined they are to act (this is why it is hard for many to pick a major in college).

Also, I think the old SERP looked a little messy. Let's be honest Google's search UI is much better than that of it's competitors for a reason. Cleaning up the page keeps people coming back to search and prevents new users from being overwhelmed from all the information that is thrown at them.

A final note to mention is that Google does a ton of research and most of their big moves are informed by this research. With desktop local queries looking more like mobile, what does this tell us about the future of how people are finding local business. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts!
 

Brian Barwig

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Many of the results Im seeing in the insurance industry are complete spam. This Local Pack confuses me because everything we have been preaching about Local seems to not apply in this case. My post goes into more detail towards the end but terrible websites, poor UX, bad citations, no reviews abound. It looks better in other industries but insurance is a mess and it makes no sense.
 

chadkimball

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call volume dropping

bad day if you depended on free listings

I think we have to realize google is not our friend.

The story with google is similar to the white collar employee who devoted decades to a big corporation. Went to meetings where they talked about how we're all a team. Responded to calls for dedication and devotion to the team. Worked after hours to build the company. After decades, the big corporation went bankrupt, laid off everyone, cancelled all retirement packages, and reorganized so the CEOs could continue to profit.

Don't devote yourself to google. Just work on making profits for yourself and your clients.
 

Linda Buquet

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Hey all, I wanted to share a protest post Jim Froling, one of our loyal members here posted at the Google Business Forum.

Well written, fun sarcasm and get several points across.

<a href="https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/business/H1d4q4kuLWo">Where's my phone#? Street Address? Google+ Page? User Experience? - Google Product Forums</a>

Checking my business' ranking in local pack results. I don't like what I see!

The local "7 Pack" is now three. Thank God I made the new "cut line" for most keywords, but not all :( That is going to cost me business so thanks a lot! Will I now use AdWords to reach those looking for those services? Don't bet on it, though I think you already have.

My business listing does NOT display my telephone number any longer! FYI, the phone is how most locals contact other local merchants and service providers, like me. Now I can only hope that prospective clients may click through to my website to find my phone number. Or, they could just hop in their car and come over to my office except...

My listing only shows what street I'm on, but no address! Are your users (and my prospective clients) supposed to go door to door, up and down the block looking for me?

And what about my Google+ (Google My Business) Page? Now, you can't get there from here! What is up with that?? Is Google kicking my Google+ Page to the curb? The page that Google not so long ago urged me to create (or created for me), post upon, encourage others to visit and add us to "Circles"...this has taken a lot of time over the past couple years. Was it all for nothing?

As a user as well, this experience sucks! This new look has caused a big pain in my neck and a great massage sounds wonderful. So I Google "massage near me" and I have to scan the ads (many of which are located far away), a couple of organic listings, mostly from Yelp, (whom I am not a fan of), then finally arrive to the local pack only to be provided three alternatives. No street address is given so I don't know if they are on the other side of town which would take too long to get to. I could call for the closest cross street or their actual address, but there's no phone number. I could go to their website and view page after page just trying to find out where they are. With all the time this has taken, I don't have time for a massage anymore. Fabulous! (I'm being sarcastic).

Google, is this is just a test of a really bad idea? Are you saying that if I want relevant local search results I should resort to Bing? Really?

Thanks for posting Jim. You got 2 replies so far. (I tried to be politically correct and didn't say too much for obvious reasons.)
dc tech school replied:

I agree. Where is our phone number and our address. We are on a VERY VERY VERY long road. Just so you know, Google we get a fair amount of calls (or we used to).... We get a lot of questions. WHAT IS YOUR ADDRESS? Very typical customer question. We get that question over the decades. Why are you hiding this information from users, Google. Its what they want to know.

Its called--> U.S.E.R. E.X.P.E.R.I.E.N.C.E

Maybe if a few more people reply and add their 2 cents it will get some attention???
 

Jim Froling

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Perhaps Google heard us? I was curious about a strange SERP that someone (forget who or where) posted about recently having to do with local searches for a mobile phone store. The results were anything but mobile phone stores. So have they fixed this problem (while creating others)?

Alas, they have not. The local "snack pak" for a "Mobile Phone Stores in Capistrano Beach CA" returns two second hand clothing stores and a skateboard shop in the area.

But each has a phone number!
MobilePhoneSERP.jpg

Progress, I guess.

MobilePhoneSERP.jpg


MobilePhoneSERP.jpg


MobilePhoneSERP.jpg
 

Linda Buquet

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Interesting find Jim. I'm not seeing phone #s on other listings, so maybe she's still testing different layouts, which means there is still hope! :)
 
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Any speculation about how Google is choosing which listings to include in the Snack Pack? I've attached a screenshot of the pack results for "sugar land plumbers" and the top and bottom listings have good organic website rankings. The bottom listing (Arrow Plumbing) does not have a top performing website and only appears on the first results page in a Sponsored Listing at the top of the page. It's at the bottom of the second page of organic website listings.

So my questions would be:
  • Is Google still saying that participation in Adwords has no impact on rankings?
  • Given the schism between Google+ and the Snack Pack listings and a 2nd page website, what could be driving Arrow Plumbing's great placement?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.12.46 AM.jpg

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.12.46 AM.jpg
 

Dave

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Perhaps Google heard us? I was curious about a strange SERP that someone (forget who or where) posted about recently having to do with local searches for a mobile phone store. The results were anything but mobile phone stores. So have they fixed this problem (while creating others)?

Alas, they have not. The local "snack pak" for a "Mobile Phone Stores in Capistrano Beach CA" returns two second hand clothing stores and a skateboard shop in the area.

But each has a phone number!
Google My Business Reviews.jpg

Progress, I guess.

That is so bizarre: In mid July there was a "local issue" that happened to relate to cell phone stores. Linda would recall it. I happened to do a search on "mobile phone stores" and found the bizarre pack results. Sent the info to Mike, and he published on it here: Don?t Go Looking for a Mobile Phone Store On Google | Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Sooooo....the pack results are still Completely OFF BASE. meanwhile...I just checked from a desktop for the original search I did in Vienna, VA...and the one Mike did on mobile phone store Buffalo.

The results are STILL completely unrelated. BUT DANG IT. I'm finding PHONE NUMBERS!!!!!!! How do like that?

Cripes if I need to call Wegman's in Buffalo, and ask the butcher if they have lamb these days....I can actually get their number from Google.

Of course, I won't get it by looking up supermarkets. I'll have to look up mobile phone stores.

Go Figure. Google is playing mind games with us.
 
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Similar results in Rosenberg, TX, outside of Houston. "Phone stores near me" did not have phone numbers but did have real phone stores. "Mobile phone stores near me" did have phone numbers for non-phone variety stores.

Change is hard!
 

Linda Buquet

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Any speculation about how Google is choosing which listings to include in the Snack Pack? I've attached a screenshot of the pack results for "sugar land plumbers" and the top and bottom listings have good organic website rankings. The bottom listing (Arrow Plumbing) does not have a top performing website and only appears on the first results page in a Sponsored Listing at the top of the page. It's at the bottom of the second page of organic website listings.

So my questions would be:
  • Is Google still saying that participation in Adwords has no impact on rankings?
  • Given the schism between Google+ and the Snack Pack listings and a 2nd page website, what could be driving Arrow Plumbing's great placement?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Hi Paul and thanks for posting.

Do you know by chance if those 3 were ranking on top in the previous 7 pack???

Because from what I've seen, the algo has not changed and whoever was A, B, C in the 7 pack is usually in the new 3 pack, usually in the same ranking order.

But what's driving ranking for Arrow is still a good Q. I don't have the carpal bandwidth to do ranking research right now, but maybe someone else has ideas?
 
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Hi Paul and thanks for posting.

Do you know by chance if those 3 were ranking on top in the previous 7 pack???

Because from what I've seen, the algo has not changed and whoever was A, B, C in the 7 pack is usually in the new 3 pack, usually in the same ranking order.

Thanks Linda!

I didn't get a screenshot last week, but yes those three plumbing companies were usually in the pack. Arrow may have been lower in the 7 pack. My client was mid 7-pack and has dropped out, so back to work.

I have a client who does endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery, so if you ever need a recommendation ...

Thanks again,
Paul
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for thinking of my Paul. Actually carpal is the least of my problems right now. I have other types of RSI injuries that are much worse. It's just easier to lump it all under "carpal problems" because people understand it. Often when I say RSI (which is technically more correct for me, since it's not just carpal) people tell me they had to look it up and didn't know what that means. So anyway for me carpal is just a shorthand way of saying - 1 arm and both hands are shot! :eek:

Which reminds me. Time is up. I was supposed to get off PC an hour ago.
 

Jim Froling

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Must be the 17 reviews.

---------- Post Merged at 01:12 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 01:05 PM ----------

I don't think there are mind games in play here. Just a messed up equation within the algo.

Another point that I forgot to point out yesterday. Though Google's local SERP cannot deliver relevant results, AdWords delivered relevant ads. So they have that working anyways.
 

Dave

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what is so weird about the mobile phone search, is not only are the results off base and flat out wrong...but when I did a search for mobile phone stores/Buffalo and mobile phone stores, Vienna Va......every single result

Was wrong and inappropriate
EVERY RESULT in the 3 pack and the More "stores" pac...HAD A PHONE NUMBER!!!!

Every one of them

What gives?? Is this a clue as to how this all works???

A search comes in. Google recognizes it as a local search phrase. Goes to the Local Index. Picks out the top 3 results per that location and topic...and then what does it do...before delivering them back to Google.com???

Does it filter out data??? Does it filter out Nap Data? Does it filter out the entire phone number and does it filter out the numerical street number???

I'd think so. I think the reason phone numbers are showing is that "in line with the terrible" results....somehow this search phrase hasn't been coordinated with cell phone stores. So it is showing local results...there is a recognition that it generates "some kind of local result with data coming from the local index....but its not that coordinated. If there is some kind of filter in place to keep phone numbers and street numbers out..it is missing some of that filter.

What do you think??
 
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