What happened to Google’s local search results? How does their absence impact your site’s SEO?

December 27th, 2009 by jkardell Leave a reply »

It appears that Google’s local search results for some categories – including Internet Marketing, Marketing, Advertising, SEO and Web Design – have completely disappeared globally. As a SEO/Internet Marketing company, we not only utilize and rely on traffic from Google’s local search, but also stress its importance to our clients. It is a little difficult to do either now that the search results for our categories are no longer there. Go ahead, try it. Type in Advertising Agency New York City or Marketing Los Angeles or Web Design Chicago. You will not see any local listings. Type in Florist Dallas or Dentist Boston and you will. The question is will they disappear also?

Where did Google’s local search results go? We have Googled this question and found two forums that address it:

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?tid=18b0412b6336989c&hl=en&fid=18b0412b6336989c000478bb9964569a

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?tid=19f4b0936485546a&hl=en&fid=19f4b0936485546a000478b7db1a7347

A Google employee suggested that the local search results for terms such as Marketing and Web Design are not showing up because there is not enough local intent. This answer makes no sense because until a month or so ago, local listings for these categories did show up and they are categories you can select when you create your Google Local Business Center listing. Until these listings disappeared, local listings even showed up if you typed in SEO Warwick New York, which includes a self-created category and a small town.

The lesson. Relying solely on a Google Local Business Center listing for web visibility and traffic is not wise. While we don’t understand what is really happening with these local listings or when this issue will be resolved, we do still believe in the importance of Local Business Center Listings for our clients. However, you cannot rely solely on them. You need to optimize your site with your locale also in case the local listings for your industry disappear as well.

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