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Thread: Could someone explain Google Places.

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    Default Could someone explain Google Places.

    I have begun to see a section on the first results page on G oogle for several items that seem to be "Place" pages. They seem to do nothing to improve the search results and push the natural results lower down, and off, the first page.

    What are place pages? what are they supposed to provide a searcher? Where is the benefit here?

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    Google places is a location based service that shows businesses in your area, additional information, with reviews from other users. It's sort of a combination between Yelp and Foursquare.
    It's actually very helpful to businesses and considering how many people search on mobile devices, and how many cars access local results it can actually pretty handy.

    I've actually found it useful when looking for restaurants in an area of town that I'm not familiar with. Also being that I live in a tourist town, I can see how it would be useful to travelers.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 04-03-2011 at 04:02 PM.

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    I see. So it is an extension to, and an improvement(?) on, the local theme that G oogle is pushing, is that right?

    It is quite useless and probably counterproductive for those people who do not want local results, then. I have my computer set to not personalize results and to not seek local results, because I am interested in the most relevant sites based on the search words and phrases only, not on the location of the site or business.

    Eg. I searched for Business Coach and received the local information (address, maps, etc.) for four business coaches, one in Sacramento, CA, one in Tallahassee, FL, one in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, and one in Pacifica, CA. Seeing as I am in Houston, TX, for my non-location specific search, the results are pretty useless, if they are not the most relevant results for the term regardless of location.

    I had to chuckle though - G gave me a link that would direct me for "More results near United States " -- Er, where is that, NEAR the United States? Canada? Mexico?

    What a sorry excuse for a search engine Google is turning into!

    Thanks for your reply, Harold.

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    Google Places is really just a renamed and improved Google local. They've been showing those map locations for years and recently renamed it Google Places along with redoing the page of the business. They don't appear all the time. They should appear for searches more of a local nature. Why Places appears when searching for business coach I don't know. Perhaps the majority of people searching for business coach usually click on local results.

    I think you have your location set as United States, which is why you see near United States. If you set your location to Houston you shouldn't see results for other locations.

    You may not like these local results, but many people do, especially when they're searching for something where they want local results. For example if people are searching for things like pizza, furniture, or bowling, the odds are they want something local. I don't think it's a case of google turning into a sorry excuse for a search engine as much as you not liking the direction their search results are going. Google is trying to present results that the majority will find useful. Like you I often don't want the same results as the majority so I learn how to search in a way more likely to give me the results I want.
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    I have my location set to United States and I just don't see all of the local results that Frederick keeps saying that he is seeing. I don't see maps. I don't see local businesses.
    When I want local results I just add my city to the search query. Otherwise, Google is the same search engine for me that it has always been.

    I agree that Google is just as accurate as it has always been and I have no problem finding what I'm looking for.

    It is a fact that more mobile devices are accessing the web than ever before and that number is only growing with each year. Last years mobile use grew by over 100%. Between hand held devices, cars, and GPS units Google would be stupid not to adjust to the way it's users need to use the product. But that doesn't mean you need to use it that way on your desktop or laptop. As far as I'm concerned nothing there has changed.

    I don't think Google is turning into a crap search engine, it's just that the web world continues to develop and change and move forward.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 04-03-2011 at 09:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    ...Why Places appears when searching for business coach I don't know. Perhaps the majority of people searching for business coach usually click on local results...
    Well, I imagne they would if -as we have supposed before - a vast majority of people do not adjust their SE settings and Google are delivering local results unasked-for. I mean, most people won't be getting anything but local results, so what else could they click on?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spider View Post
    I mean, most people won't be getting anything but local results, so what else could they click on?!
    That's not true. Most people don't have an aversion to just creating an account so that they can adjust their settings.
    A lot of people know how to personalize their computer and web experience now.

    The mere fact that Firefox is now the number one used browser, and not the one that comes with the computer (IE) is a testament to that.

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    I do not agree that Google is as accurate as it was - not by a long chalk. If different people get different results for the same search terms, something is not accurate. Okay, when their search is set up for personalised and local, then they will be different - as they should be - but if you, in Las Vegas, set up for not personalzed and for location "United States", search for a particular search term, then I, in Houston, also not personalized and location "United States," should get the same results, or one of us (or both) is not accurate.

    I really don't care, as far as searching is concerned because I don't use Google for my own searches. But I recognize that most people do and the only reason I search on Google is to keep tabs on where my sites are placing. But if everyone is getting a different set of results it's impossible to figure out how one's site is doing - Is it going up? Is it going down? We have no way of knowing, anymore. And I can't use some other search engine, because their results won't tell me what's going on with Google, and I need to know that because most peole use Google.

    It's a continuous loop and it makes my head hurt!

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    It shouldn't make your head hurt. You don't need to fire up Google to know how your sites are doing. You can just look at your stats. If you aren't getting much traffic from Google then you probably need to do more SEO. SEO is continuous anyway. You don't do one or 2 things and then wait and see.

    I've searched my sites from various computers and I generally get the same results. It's common to get varying results from day to day because there's more information everyday. Just becasue you show up one way in a search today doesn't mean that the world comes to a halt and no one else puts up any other information or tries to rank for that spot. It's always going to change. That has nothing to do with Google specifically...that's just the nature of the web.

    If people are continuously adding information in your niche and doing continuous SEO, of course your position is going to change. It always has.

    So let me answer your next question:
    Q: "Then why do some sites always place the same?"
    A: Because they have better content, better SEO, have been around longer...or any number of reasons that put their sites in a better position than yours. They are doing something better than you are.

    As a static site you are always going to be at a disadvantage over other sites in your niche that provide new information regularly as well as many other factors.

    I think part of your misunderstanding is that you are relying on one way to get SE traffic and most of us get traffic in many different ways from search engines.
    For instance, from search engines, I get traffic from Google images, Bing images, general keyword search terms and searches for any one of 1000 articles that are on the site that have information people are looking for. So basically I have thousands of possibilities for SE traffic, before we even get to traffic from links and RSS feeds.

    On another site it's mostly targeted keyword searches, a few from articles and blog posts, searches for my name and links.
    Obviously much different from the other one.
    They rise and fall based on the search and the day, but overall they stay visible because they have many possibilities to be so.

    Think of it this way..How many different pages do you have optimized with differing keywords and descriptions that can draw in possible search engine traffic? On a static website, that's directly related to the mount of pages the site has. That's it.

    On a CMS or website with a blog, that's directly related to how many articles AND the amount of pages. So where as a statics site in my niche that has 10 pages, has 10 possibilities. My site has over 700 possibilities and grows everyday. That's the easiest way to outrank someone. Continuous new content on the subject.

    On today's web, if you aren't adding new content and others are, you will never outrank them unless you are a master SEO. Now multiply that by how many sites are out there in your niche that are trying to rank.
    Why do you think the web has swayed to using CMS's? Because of the strong SEO benefits.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 04-04-2011 at 01:03 AM.

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    Harold, I accept all that. but it's not what I'm talking about. I'm not referring to small variations. I am talking about large differences between two different people searching for the same term.

    A short while ago, during a similar discussion, VG (in Denver, CO) searched for Business coach. I searched for business coach from Houston, TX. Both of us were unpersonalized and both of us had United States as our location. I was very pleased that I was appearing #3 or so. VG's result was #40-something. One or both of those results is inaccurate.

    Yesterday, I was still at #3 of the natural resullts. This morning, my search, on the same computer, shows my site at #48. That's on one computer. The same search term, the same setup, the same Google, but a different computer only inches away from the first computer, has me at #2. Reload, to make sure this isn't an electronic burp on the internet - no, same result.

    This is what you call accuracy? This level of consistency is one of the reasons I gave up on Google several years ago - and it is not improving as time goes by.

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