Google Local Search Results Lotto

Mike Blumenthal recently reported several instances of Google delivering authoritative OneBox results for general search phrases.

His “Big Boobs Bounce Back to Top of Google Maps” details how aggressive optimization has been used to produce multiple listing results for the same business yet under different but related general keyword phrases.

As Blumenthal points out. the new spammy results probably weren’t the type Google had intended to produce when they instituted changes to their local search results recently.

Whether Google’s local search results tweak was intended to produce the results it has or not, their changes have introduced a variety of new and different results types for local searches across several different business categories.

Businesses who have received an authoritative Onebox as a result of these recent Google changes might feel they have won something akin to the Google Local Search Lotto.

For those businesses on the other side of an authoritative Onebox result and the now non-existent “more results near” link who have seen their local search presence and traffic disappear the feeling most certainly isn’t mutual.

I came across one such category – luxury apartments – where Google’s new local search results are uneven at best.

Searching for luxury apartments in New York – surely the largest luxury apartment market in America – produces an authoritative OneBox result for a single property.

Luxury Apartments New York

Luxury Apartments New York

The same search in Boston for luxury apartments also produces a single authoritative OneBox result.

In both these examples, the most disconcerting aspect of their OneBox result is that Google has also removed the “more results near…” link to additional listings which are otherwise offered in location specific general category searches.

Luxury Apartments Boston

Luxury Apartments Boston

The same category search for luxury apartments in San Francisco produces not an authoritative Onebox result for a single luxury apartment building but three luxury apartment listings.

Luxury Apartmetns San Francisco

Luxury Apartmetns San Francisco

Same search phrase, different city, different number of results.

Why just one result in New York and Boston, but three in San Francisco?

To complicate matters further, the same search for luxury apartments in Dallas produces a list of ten results.

Luxury Apartments Dallas

Luxury Apartments Dallas

In both the San Francisco and Dallas examples, Google provides links to additional results while in the New York and Boston examples Google doesn’t.

Why do some market category search results produce clear Google Local Search winners while other markets do not?

Have the odds of a finding a business under its respective category in a location specific Google web search grown as long and as remote as winning the lotto?

Or has the presence of authoritative Onebox search results created a new class of local business winners and losers?

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3 Responses to “Google Local Search Results Lotto”

  1. localoptimizer Says:

    With several businesses and websites, my smb’s have at times been big winners w/ one boxes, have at times been “somewhere in the 3 or 10 pac” and at times have been shut out be some other business one box. Additionally over time some of the sites have gravitated in and out of one boxes and/or seen a competitor do so.

    This all was happening before the recent volume of comments suggesting greater visibility of one boxes for a wide variety of search phrases.

    I would strongly agree having the one-box creates a tremendous winner..and being shut out by a one box creates a loser. Its been that simple with our traffic for various phrases.

    A commentator in Mike’s article referenced above, whose maps positioning was recently dramatically changed for the worse, had a great paragraph with which I totally agree…

    “The type of power that Google yields with the 10 pack and SERPs, all subject to vague algorithms and mysterious site reviews, with no opportunities for appeal is an increasingly good example of why anti-trust laws exist. They are a great company, but, as we all know, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

    In this case businesses that are heavily reliant on google’s search results–if only because that is how the public looks for products and services–are now totally subjected to the whims of google’s algo’s.

    They have become the king makers. Its somewhat dangerous!!!

  2. SearchCap: The Day In Search, September 30, 2009 Says:

    [...] Google Local Search Results Lotto, Search Marketing Communications [...]

  3. SEO Surrey Says:

    SEO Surrey…

    [...]Google Local Search Results Lotto « Search Marketing Communications[...]…

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