Google Ditches Local Listings for SEOs and Designers

Why is Google Eliminating Local Results for SEOs?

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As 2009 came to a close, Google managed to get SEOs riled up for one last controversial topic. For some time, SEOs and web designers have been noticing that Google has not been showing local listings in search results for queries related to their businesses – even location-specific ones.

Should SEOs and designers be worried about local listings?
Comment here.

As Matt McGee mentions in a Search Engine Land piece, even a query like "candy" without any geographical indicator will bring up a seven-pack of local results, but a query for "seo" or "web design" or even something as specific as "web design vancouver" will bring up no local listings whatsoever (although the organic results still heavily favor local businesses in location-specific queries).

Web Design Vancouver

Needless to say, some SEOs and designers are taking this as something of a slap in the face, justified or not. Search engine optimization and web design are both services after all, and just about every other type of service you can think of will yield local listings in a Google search.

While this phenomenon was originally thought to be a bug, Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick fame points to a Google Maps Help thread where a Googler going by Joel H. tells a different story:

Today, we’re intentionally showing less local results for web design / SEO queries. For example, [web design sacramento] doesn’t display local listings today. We believe this is an accurate representation of user intent. In some cases, we do show local listings, however (as NSNA/php-er noted) [web design in bellingham]. I’m sure some of you feel we should be displaying local results for queries like [Web Design Vancouver]. I understand that concern, but based on our understanding of our users, we feel this is the right decision for now.

I’ll give the usual disclaimer that we’re constantly working on improving the user experience and results will vary over time. So, this could change in the future, but I wanted to be explicit about what we’re doing today.

So if you use the word "in" in your query, you are more likely to get the local results. Some still have a hard time finding the logic in this move.

Web Design Vancouver

"I’m all for their interest in balancing for user intent – it’s their business, their product – but I’m missing the logic here," comments Bill Sebald. 

"I find this disturbing," says Scott Clark. "If I have a physical location in a given area, offer a service to customers in that area that is close to their query, then onebox listings should appear as they do for other creative-class industries."

Not all SEOs have such a problem with what Google is doing though. "I want to be found by people everywhere, not just in the small city I happen to live in at the moment," a content writer comments.

"But you would think that if people typed in a city name or other location, they are actually looking for local results and the maps could be useful," they add. "Although if you have optimized your website for your location, you should get found anyway. And I do all my work online, people don’t need to visit me or even know where I am located so in that sense the maps aren’t always useful or necessary."

People are saying that in some countries, they are still seeing local results for the type of query in question. It is possible that Google has just not rolled out the changes everywhere yet. The quoted content writer suggests that Google just doesn’t know the user-intent of all of its countries’ people as well as it does for the countries where the changes exist.

What do you make of Google showing less local results for SEOs and web designers? Will it hurt local businesses? Share your thoughts.

Related Articles:

> Google Adds Place Pages to Google Earth

> Google Comes to Brick and Mortar Store Windows

> Critical Local Search Factors To Pay Attention To

Google Ditches Local Listings for SEOs and Designers
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://www.whatshakin.com Logan3

    As a designer and SEO with customers around the world, my opinion is bias, but Google’s move from local results for web design and SEO is smart– it best reflects user intent. Google’s dogmatic insistence on delivering the best results per user intent will keep them on top.

  • daz

    Well A Av Lots To Say About This. But Yes A Feel Av Been Ditched For A Younger Model. But Wat Can A Say BUSINESSES Free Ride Is Over. You Have To Work For Your Meal Now.

    The Internet Was And Has Been A Wash With Crap For Years But I Have Noticed Things Are Being Cleaned Up

    Think You Have To Take Part In The Internet Now Its Alive More So Now Than Ever. Was Once A Stagnent Pool Of. But Yes If I’am Looking For A Local Business A Dont Want To Find A Porn Star. Now Whats Wrong With That! Even Tho My Page Rank As Gone Down – A Dont Crab – You Just Pass The Buck. But Yes Business Need To Pic Domains Relative To There Business – Drive People – Not Spam Or You Get Never Found Marked Down. Use Maps, Google, Latatude, Mobile, Twitter Qr Code’s On Flyer’s Car Bus Milk Float – If That Rocks Your Boat.

    Domains Will Go Up In Value – Un Toched Websites Will Just Float Away

    Anyway You Can Read Loads More Good Googleeee Stuf On My Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Airtaxzee

  • Claudia

    Has been going on for over a year for a client of mine. Small business in small cityas healthcare practitioner. Has to buy sponsored ads to be found in her own city. Could someone explain what the user intent is when searching for an industry specific local practitioner?

  • http://pestcontrolseo.wordpress.com Thos003

    Google has been so up and down with the local results that it is killing me. Back in November they moved to cover service areas for service companies… but they changed that back to city limits… or specific results to IP address.

    If they are really about providing the best results then top quality pest control companies should be at the top doing things the white hat, or google outlined way… instead we are ousted by shady tactics of other less then stellar services. Funny thing is that we bought into their intent to put the best results on the top…

    Best results for Google are the results they earn money on.

  • http://www.homebusinesswithinuk.co.uk Andrew Walker

    As a small local business owner I find that Google can be a right royal pain at times.
    their results can be very intermittant and quite baffling.

  • http://www.workingwebcopy.com Angela West

    I think it is fairly obvious that Google is doing this because some web designers and SEO firms include cities in their website copy that are actually out of their immediate vicinity just to nab the business. Problem is, most are willing to drive to meetings with clients that are 2 hours away (I know I am) and may not be misrepresenting themselves.

    What they should have is an additional verification page that asks you to certify that you will do business in a certain area before they will list you. Mind you, these two industries are being picked on and shouldn’t have to go through any special process.

  • http://www.simplyclicks.com Simply Clicks

    I don’t see this as a problem. I don’t exactly avoid local SEO clients. However, despite scoring No.1 for the term local search rarely generates any business. I’m happy to say most of clients come from much further afield.

  • http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3595541/restaurant_consultants Restaurant Consultants

    Cleaning up the net is good, but yeh, SEO / web designing both have some correlations, depnding on what you’re doing.

  • BNW

    Both SEO and web design are not location specific verticals. People from the USA hire people in Europe and Asia very often. In this case location is irrelevant, what people are searching for is the best company for their needs which is really any company which speaks their language.

    • http://www.digitalcatapult-searchenginepromotion.com SEMpassion

      I see, so you are saying that if you provide a service that can doesn’t need to be provide locally, then Google should not provide location specific results.

      How does this reconcile for local results being provided for “call center”, “answering service”, “software”, and other verticals much less location specific?

  • http://www.airdriewebdesign.com Janice

    I don’t understand Google Local anymore… I have a customer with a local restaurant that we registered and verified with Google Local Business – however – when we search for the name of the business and the location – Sal’s Italian Bistro Airdrie – it comes up on the first page of results – but NOT in the local results – I don’t understand this – the vast majority of the 15,000 hits that come up under this local search are not even located in this city (we have about 50 restaurants here) and the vast majority are not even verifired – we went to the trouble (and the customer paid the extra expense) to open a google account and verify with local business…. I don’t get it !!

  • Tig

    Hang on, if it wasn’t for web designers/developers Google wouldn’t have much to base their business on! Seems pretty unfair to me.

  • http://www.preasy.com Web Traffic Guy

    I think Google has realized what’s happening in SEO/Web Design industry. Although I would think that if someone is typing geographic limiter like city name, they want to find someone local but it would be interesting to see if Google has received complaints from users on this.
    Personally this wouldn’t affect me since I’ve very minimal local clients. What is interesting is local results are showing up if you type in “in” city name, which is probably most novice users would do.
    Bottom line is if you want Local Traffic Optimize your site with Local SEO and use Google Adwords :)


  • Bob Lundin

    I have personally talked with Google about this very subject. Its a very difficult line to walk. There are certain products that users want to find local outlets for. Its a very tricky algorithm to write. I believe Google is getting very smart about this but has a ways to go. Many of the SEO recommendations we make have geographic preferences to them because I believe in the end Google will find these types of practices very relevant. Having said that I believe Google is working on giving Internet Marketing Company’s more credit. For example, they are beta testing a product for Google Adwords Professionals.

    Localization of search may perhaps be the next big thing in search marketing. At least that is my prediction. Bob Lundin.

    • http://www.digitalcatapult-searchenginepromotion.com SEMpassion

      Have you noticed Bob, that there is no way in the beta search for Google Adwords Professionals to search for a “local” firm? At least Google is being consistent.

  • http://www.digitalcatapult-searchenginepromotion.com sempassion

    The logic escapes me. A substantial amount of our business comes from people who want to sit down face to face and not deal with someone on the other side of the country. True many clients come from the other side of the country, even the other side of the world.

    There may be more spamming of the index in our industries than many others, but Google should clean up the spam, not “throw out the baby with the bath water”.

    At least you can search for “escort service” and find local results. Google clearly doesn’t have a problem with that.

  • http://www.logo411.com Logo411

    I have seen Google go back and forward on my keyword of “promotional products”.

    When just using two words, they return those sites with the best seo (back links & authority).
    When using the same two words with a regional qualifier City/State and/or Zip they still don’t return google local results (organic is slanted to local websites) who have a local qualifier in their Titles and/or h1. NOT UNTIL I type the word “in” does it actually return results from Google Local.

    Logic tells me that if someone types in a local qualifier without the word “in” they are looking for a local supplier. If they slant the results for Local companies, why wouldn’t they use the full Google Local Listings?

    The thing that really bugs me is that the websites that spend the big bucks on SEO create page names that have all of the largest cities in the urls: ie: promotionalproducts.com/atlanta.html but they don’t have a location there. They of course do this for every City where it makes sense.

    I would consider this Black hat, yet Google seems to reward this.

    I’m confused.

  • http://www.digitalstroke.co.uk Guest

    If I want to search for local services I will enter the area such as a city or county and would expect local services relevant to the search query would have prominent positions within the organic results. If Google are saying that their so called ‘users’ are not doing this, then clearly they haven’t a clue about their users.
    It is a well know fact here in the UK that any optimisation done on a site, should ultimately and initially be targeted at geographical locations, such as a city or county etc. or if you want to target business/customers in other areas they should be optimised for national results also.

    Then again Google say a lot of things and do the opposite. I believe they put out more disinformation than actual information. I ‘ve been designing websites before Google ever existed and they have never honoured their guidelines at anytime I can remember.

    One thing I do dismise, when it comes to SEO’s and that is targeting a geographical location, where clearly they are nowhere near that area. To me, thats being deceiving and could possibly give a business a bad name. Afterall if you lie about the area you are based in, what else are you lying about?

    • http://www.seogo.co.uk Anthony Johnson

      I acually think this is fair for Seo’s I mean, if your any good you will be a the top Organically anyway Right?
      I know my company is!
      I do however think its unfair for webdesigners as most of them know nothing about Seo, thats where most of my work comes from!

  • http://www.auxvieuxcanons.com Guest

    This sure is a HOT TOPIC at the beginning of this NEW YEAR as I have been wondering for the last few years about results for our Restaurant which is one of the finest in Town but when we ask Google and for that matter, any other Search Engine, most of the time our restaurant seems to prompt a lot of “canons”, “vieux” but almost never Aux Vieux Canons and even under Restaurant Aux Vieux Canons, the results are to say the least ”astonishing”.

    I am subscribed to Google alerts and the alerts VERY RARELY show Aux Vieux Canons as beeing the Only restaurant in the whole wide world that bears the name Aux Vieux Canons but the search engine keeps on spitting out results that are totally irrelevant.

    If, as suggested, they concentrated on ”areas” results this would kind of totally eliminate us from showing up, say in the USA or any other country or Continent which is far from what we want.

    Locally, when we ask for Aux Vieux Canons, we ALWAYS come out FIRST which indicates the reliability of Google but when you are located in other parts of the world and request the same Aux Vieux Canons, God knows what will show up and … the Engine Designers … lol …

    Thank You for the opportunity you have given us to express our vision on the Evolution of Search Engines towards SEOs and the Designers of WebSites from all over the world.

    Gilles Lavigueur
    Quebec City, Canada

  • Brad

    Chris, I think i am missing something here. I did a search for “car dealer in goshen,ny” and did get a Local Business Listing result
    Can you clue me in more on this topic.


  • http://www.kruse.co.uk/ UK Services

    If you want to search for butcher, baker, candlestick maker, probably you want someone local as these are generally considered local trades carried out by local tradesmen. If you search for an SEO or web design comany, you’re probably already aware these are not limited to their immediate locailties by definition of their trades, particularly so with SEO, and you might reasonably want to see it demonstrated who the best company is that’s available nationally. You might just as well be hiring them if they’re available as some local company, so why wouldn’t Google give national results? It makes sense to me.


    • http://mst3.wordpress.com Doc

      In that case, you might “reasonably” leave the name of your town OUT of your query!

      Apparently, Google is quite certain that THEY know what people want to see, better than the people themselves.

  • http://www.ChristianWebConcepts.com Sheri Johnson

    Here is why I think this actually makes sense… IF you are any good at SEO, your organic link should already be coming up in these search queries. Why in the world would a client want an SEO company that can’t get their own site to show up for their local area? I know I wouldn’t.

  • http://www.mindthegapco.com Andrea Norman

    as a marketing firm that offers SEO, especially as a relatively new marketing company, we have started marketing locally instead of nationally. It seems to me that this decision by Google gives an unfair advantage to larger marketing companies that have a national presence and spend the dollars and time to invest on a national level.

    I’ve been very impressed that Google has always allowed a certain amount of democracy in organic listings. Too bad they are not extending it to the SEO marketplace.

  • http://www.freshinput.com Jason

    This is nothing new. In fact I have seen this scenario with the automotive field for quite some time. It makes no sense what so ever. There is no consistency to this methodology. If people are going to go to a search engine to find something, Google needs to apply some kind of consistency so people know what to expect. instead it feels like we might as well click on that ‘Feeling Lucky’ button! Is Google starting to get to big?

  • http://www.uswebcentral.com Denver SEO

    I agree with the first comment. If you are an SEO company, you should already show up for these search queries. I witnessed a lot of local SEO company

  • http://webdesignerillinois.com James

    I noticed the reduction in local listings for SEO and web design a couple of weeks ago when I launched my new site. It does not surprise me at all really. Out of all the listings that used to be displayed in the results for the search phrase “web design my town”, only one of the listings was a “real” local company. The rest of the web design listings claimed to be local, but in fact were not even close to being local at all. Two of the listings were lead capture sites for a company from India. That being said, I think getting rid of the listings was a smart move for Google.

  • http://www.guzzus.com coupons

    The only thing that bothers me is that google is a monopole .

    • http://www.sitebyjames.com James


      A great big black hole vortex sucking us all in…

      Hey at least they were “transparent” about it and let us know why they felt globalizing the seo and web design business was a good idea…

      Let’s hope it has more to do with… Well… what does singling out people have to do with it?

  • http://www.bay-areawebdesign.com Guest

    Now I’m really lost…….. isn’t it obvious the intent of every user who includes the name of a city in their search means they’re seeking a Local company? Come on now….. duh…. that’ why they included the “city” name in the first place. They are seeking a local company. You know the kind where you actually get to sit down and meet with.

    Google seems to be grossly underestimating and misreading their users. Again, why would a user be including name of a city in their search if they weren’t looking for a local company? Any user knows that they get national or world wide results if they don’t specify a city/state/country.

    Are users now just supposed to be psycics or learn by trial and error to now include “in” their search query?

    Doing this, Google has just given a very few of the big players that can organically make first page search results 95% of the worldwide business. Sounds like some type of “pay-off” to me.

    Congtratulations to the less than 1% of all SEO’s and Web Designers that will now be able to make first page search results…….Google is giving you Millions…..

    Sadly, tough luck to all the other 99% of SEO’s and Web Designers.

  • http://www.sitefillers.com SiteFillers

    I’d always assumed if your page was SEO’d the right way, the content would be picked up by Google and your “local” page could easily be found anywhere you search on the web, whether it’s intended for local readers (regionally?) or a global audience. I may just be missing the boat on this though.

  • http://www.indices.in Sensex

    maybe google has the power to whatever it desires and we can just watch

  • http://thewebsquad.com The Web Squad

    Why would Google take out local results for SEOs and web designers. Yes, many of the firms in the industry are doing business outside of their respective cities, but I have found that a lot of clients like being able to actually sit down with a designer rather than try to get their idea across via email or phone.

    If someone types “web design Chicago” they are obviously looking for a designer in the town with a physical location they can visit.

    What irks me even more is that the web design firm I work for just got a Google Favorite Place letter. Why would they bother sending that to us if they are just going to remove local results anyway?

  • http://www.howtoranknumberoneongoogle.com GoogleSeo

    While I disagree with what they’re doing, as well as the Googler “Joel H” statement.
    Unfortunately, I feel this is hardly the beginning of change for 2010. I think much of this comes from the very poor “seo” work done by many people and companies that try to sku the rankings by linking to tons of fake blogs etc.

    With software programs designed to do just that, and in bulk, its just a matter of time before many site really start to see problems with their ranking.

  • http://ts-internet-marketing.co.uk Dave Hance

    So if you use the word “in” in your query for SEO or web design, you’ll see local results but if you leave it out you won’t!

    Why? Where is the sense in this?

    • http://thewebsquad.com The Web Squad

      Welcome to Google.

  • http://searchmarketingwisdom.com Alan Bleiweiss

    I think it’s crap to complain about this. I’m not here to have my ego stroked by seeing an icon in a map on the organic results page. In fact, I think having the local map 7 pack, 3 pack, whatever pack show up in the organic results for ANY keyword or phrase is pollution.

    So what if it doesn’t show up when it comes to SEO phrases? Besides – so many people game the local listings, it’s junk anyhow.

    Allow me to continue to show up in the top slot for the niche phrases I’m already showing up for, and in the top five for similar phrases. Keep the map off the organic results.

  • Guest

    I have read through the article and the comments.

    It never ceases to amaze me the vast quantity of SEO/SEM/Web Designers who seem to think that Google should “work” for them. Google claims to want to serve up relevant results to the majority of its user’s the majority of the time. Perfectly acceptable.

    What is everyone complaining about? Sort your search strategies out, stay within guidelines given by the engines and hey what do you know, you stay in Google top pages and are listed in local. Or did I miss the point? Guess I’m simply not a professional web designer or SEO company trying to make money when actually they haven’t got a clue…

    • http://mst3.wordpress.com Doc

      “Google claims to want to serve up relevant results…”

      Yeah, and what about the relevance of the searchers request to the results delivered? Nobody expects them to “work for us”.

      But it WOULD be nice if they’d work against the fly-by-nights, spammers and gamers, rather than the entire community!

  • http://www.quenet.org SEO Canada

    I think that is great that they removed local listings for SEO related phrases as ranking on them doesn’t really reflect how well a website is optimized, or the level of skill that the company’s ranking has at their ranking skills…. Goodness knows there are enough people are already ripping people off selling bunk SEO services. As for web design related queries I think they should keep the local listings as ranking on local doesn’t reflect the quality of the website designs to achieve that ranking (yes to a degree it does but I don’t want to argue this point), it just means most likely the person with the most clients linking to them will be at the top of the organic….

    • http://mst3.wordpress.com Doc

      Since you think this is so great, can we assume that you’ll sign your next comment as “Guest IN Canada”?

      Localized listings are supposed to be just that! How would you like it if you suddenly found yourself in need of a dry cleaner or wanted to find a Thai restaurant where you live, and you ask for “dry cleaners Vancouver” and get steered to listings for nothing closer than 1,500 km? Wouldn’t make a lot of sense, would it? One could reasonably assume that you typed in Vancouver for a reason!

      I guess it fell apart at “reasonably”. That doesn’t seem to be Google’s watchword these days!

  • http://www.killerwebs.info Killerwebs

    It’s just Google flexing its muscle’s again!!

    Sack em go to Bing!!

  • Roe

    Other than clients who are themselves Chinese or Indian, that is. We know their economies are growing very quickly and their people are becoming more tech savvy. Not to mention they outnumber us by about a combined 10-to-1.

    It’s really unlikely any American or European company is going to want to outsource their SEO efforts to China or India. But as their population and industries become more technically literate, it’s only a matter of time before SEO companies from those countries dominate the search results.

    Imagine that — some guy in Mumbai trying to convince you he’s not really in Mumbai the way that telemarketers and customer service reps do it now, only he’s responsible for writing content and otherwise optimizing your website! Ha!

  • http://www.localgoogle.com Guest

    What an incomplete article… subtitle being “Why is Google Eliminating Local Results for SEOs?”, nowhere in the article is any reasoning for it mentioned/suggested – not even the G drone ‘explains’ it… Sigh… Perhaps a local search for an editor would help?

    So, ‘assuming’ that Evil G thinks/feels that local SEO results are ‘spammed’ (speaking of beating them at their own game…), they now throw out ‘legit’ companies (not for the first time…) – as mentioned in some comments. BUT, my dear local-spammers, if you include the word ‘in’, they will show your link again?

    Also, now that they weed out one big spam-industry, what will be the next non-local one? Graphic designers? Does this mean that translators should hire SEO’ers now to rank high ‘locally’? What about lawyers? Former Webpronews-writers?

    Poor writing – the article doesn’t answer its own question – yet manages to result in even more questions… let’s hope Mr. Crum is not asked to answer them.

    • http://www.sitebyjames.com James

      Another stunning example of somebody shooting the messenger.

      GOOG isn’t evil… IN fact… GOOG sees no evil, hears no evil, and does, no evil.

      • http://www.localgoogle.com Guest

        … James – the messenger leaves many questions open, yet G is at the basis of it (why writing the article in the first place?).

        G is evil in the sense of not displaying legit, local companies – had you read all comments, you had noticed several examples (restaurants, a beauty salon) – that completely defeats its purpose – even after people paying for a listing – that ‘sounds’ evil to me (not knowing all details, of course).

        Perhaps G is not evil as a whole, but they definitely perform some evil actions – if you want to be really cynical you could ask if you can become a monopolist without being evil… A catchy slogan does not make me believe them – that is just naive.

        • http://www.sitebyjames.com James

          Sorry… I thought you would understand the GOOG reference. It’s their stock name. Anyways… Look into Buddhism and the Three Wise Monkeys.

          I’m not going to say that this is accurate reporting, but what other conslusion can you jump to.

          The last time I heard of GOOG censoring the web was with paid links. Let the truth be known that 80% of Internet economics are controlled and owned by Google. Not you. Let’s hope everyone starts building stronger networks. jmo…

  • http://GrowMap.com Gail – Social Media Marketer

    While I believe working with the most brilliant specialists regardless of where they are physically located is the best strategy, how can anyone believe that when a person intentionally puts a location in a search query that their intention is anything other than to find results in that location?

    Excuse me for insisting that when I clearly indicate my intent I don’t want Google – or anyone else – deciding to ignore it.

  • http://www.seocompanylimited.com Sikander

    It’s really messed up and Google has to work with universal laws and control flaws on which tricky people take advantage.

  • http://writingasaghost.com Writing As A Ghost

    I have numerous clients who won’t work with someone they can’t meet. While many of my clients don’t care where I live, others do. If someone searches for a local SEO article writer, they expect to find one. Google should provide that information if the city name is in the query.

  • http://www.homemarketviews.com ha ha ha!

    Google is not the begin all and end all of search engine results! Also, users are not as loyal as Google may think. Could it be that Web Site Designers and Search Engine Optimizers really do know the secret of dominating the front pages of Google? Is this their way of getting rid of competition?

    They have the right to do just that; and users have the right to use another search engine. Good Luck Google, but you may have just completed your biggest oogle-google (oogle

  • J Ramwsy

    The local listing seems to be hand managed by google employees and are totally corrupted hence it is better google do not show local listings with search.

    I have noticed that google employees are messing with my company local listing by changing the address and changing the biz classifications etc, so that my listings show much below competitors listings. I corrected the address 3-4 times every time it gets messed up after few days. jewgle is evil

    The Slogan for 2010 : : Joogle is Evil

  • http://www.laokay.com Adsense Publisher

    Google has always said it wants to provide the best search and part of that I believe is the users intent. How we phrase our searches plays a big part in that.

  • http://www.designmark.co.uk Mark

    2 things on this subject.

    1. I don’t need Google to give me lame information that is hopelessly inaccurate, particularly with regard to the UK. If I want to find out where any particular business is located I can look on their website or refer to many of the available online directories such as yell.com or 192.com or others. And here’s a flash, I can even move away from my computer and check my “Local Pages” for related businesses in my area!

    2. If I am online, it’s probably safe to assume that I want an online result, not bricks and mortar.

    The space in the SERPS taken up by these listing is wasted. At least 3 or 4 qualifying results miss the first page because Google seems to fancy itself as a global geographical expert.

    • http://www.toledointernetmarketing.com Toledo SEO

      Pay Attention:

      61% of ALL online searches become offline sales. Source: Neilson Ratings

      54% of Americans have given up their phone books. When was the last time you used a phone book for something other then a booster seat?

    • http://sem-group.net Gerald Weber

      I think you’re really missing the point.

      1 Google shows local Maps queries for literally every other type of business except SEOs and web designers.

      2 We are speaking about when people type in a location specific query i.e. “Houston web design”. If someone types in a local geographical location I think it’s safe to assume they are looking for a local business. So you are incorrect if someone types a local location specific query they are looking for someone local. Most consumers when hiring for services have a certain comfort level of knowing the person they are doing business with is local.

      “If I want to find out where any particular business is located I can look on their website or refer to many of the available online directories such as yell.com or 192.com or others.”

      We are speaking primarily in terms of when someone is searching for a business but don’t already have the website address or business name. Also I can tell most people do not use the directories you speak of. Most everyone uses Google these days. Period. I’m just sayin

  • http://www.tag44.com Tag44

    Thanks for the post and for sharing the info related to removal of local listing of web designers & seo.

  • http://www.list-corp.com List My Business

    I guess that depends on what the word in, “in”

  • http://sem-group.net/ Gerald Weber

    I have noticed this over the past couple of month. This really irritates me because I am a legitimate local business. I used to show up in maps for terms like “Houston SEO” but now no maps results show for that query. What gives? It amazes me that Google would show some kind of prejudice against SEOs and web designers.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick @ Brick Marketing

    Excellent information and thanks for bring this up, I just referenced this post and data in my SEO blog at the following page:

  • http://www.wiregrasswebs.com Guest

    Our office’s physical address is outside the main business city for our marketing area. Searches in our town put our web design company on the map, while we had to rely on being number one in organic results for searches coming from the main business town which meant 10 other design firms would always be above us showing on the map. Now we are number one all the time. Google’s decision should help our business.

  • http://www.ladezign.com jason ciment

    It’s actually an interesting point for Google especially for SEO. if you want to spend your time doing SEO for your own services in your area then by removing local listings the organic listings that come up will represent those SEO firms that are doing their best optimization for their own services. It’s a catch22 of course bec. is it worth to spend more time doing marketing your own site for leads or marketing your clients’ sites. LaDezign has an office in Los Angeles and for sure wants local business for its web design and SEO services but is it willing to compete with thousands of companies for organic listings? good question we face each day.

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