Google Place Search And Its Impact On Location Services

by Hessam on October 28, 2010

Yesterday Google announced the launch of Place Search. From now on when Google’s algorithms think you are performing a location specific search you will automatically be shown the Place Search SERP layout. Your physical location is automatically detected but there is an option in the sidebar where you can enter an alternative location.

Here is an example from Google.de for the query “krankenkasse” (health insurance provider):

krankenkasse - screenshot

Another example from Google.se for the query “tandläkare malmö” (dentist malmö):

tandläkare malmö - screenshot

One obvious effect of this roll-out is that first-page organic search listings for this type of queries will be considerably reduced. This will hence impact location directory and review services such as Yelp and Qype, as well as many other smaller vertical directories very negatively in terms of search engine traffic.

This piece of news from August suddenly makes much more sense:

Google to create 200 jobs in Dublin – The Irish Times:
“The Dublin operations centre will primarily focus on our geographic-based products to ensure a great local experience for our users across Europe. We are constantly seeking to improve and further develop our location based products and Dublin will now be a centre of excellence for this activity,” Google’s director of geo operations in Europe David Martin said.

“Google Maps displays so much more than the geography of a place, and now incorporates rich data from thousands of sources in different languages from across the world and also includes local business listings. This operations centre will help to manage these data sources to give Google Maps users even more local information than before.”

I wonder who will be the first to announce the imminent death of SEO!? :) Has your site been impacted by this change? Looking forward to reading your thoughts in the comments.

Other blogs who’ve covered this:
New Place Search Shows Google’s Commitment To Local – Search Engine Land
Google introducing Place Search – klikki blog
Hotels – Local Results go Crazy – Dave Naylor
Google introducing Place Search – klikki blog
[Swedish] Google ritar om kartan igen – Nikke Index

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