Google Knows Where You Live

Local search gets its place in the SERPs

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Google’s changing it up, and local search optimization just became very, very important.

It used to be a searcher had to be very specific about a query to bring back local results. To borrow from Search Engine Guide’s Miriam Ellis, who tips us off to the changes in the usual Google “10 pack,” or the top ten search results, a search for “chiropractor” reveals just how geographically targeted Google’s results are now.

In place of where the fourth search result would normally be for that result, Google Maps is inserted with a list a local (in my case, Lexington, KY) chiropractors. The paid search results are locally oriented as well.

In the past, a searcher had to modify a term like that to get specific location information. Now Google knows where you live and serves up results accordingly. The same thing happens with a query like “dentist.”

Google Dentist Search

“So far, we have confirmation that this is happening in the US, Canada, India, England, and The Netherlands, and so far, the majority of these new non-geo 10-packs are appearing in mid-page rather than at the very top of the SERPs,” writes Ellis. “As you can see in my screenshot, the vertical height of the 10-pack is pushing results 4-10 waaaay down the page, though we still appear to be getting 10 ‘regular’ results in addition to the local data.”

Of course that also makes getting your site listed in the top three results all that more important. If searchers were reluctant to scroll past the fifth result before, traditionally the scroll-point, they may be even less likely to look beyond a local maps insert.

This is certainly good news for anyone running a brick-and-mortar business or a geographically specific Web business. Ellis is right in that this may become a map-spam magnet, and it most certainly is also a blow to competing map services when Google brings up map information in its primary results. 


Google Knows Where You Live
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  • http://kikolani.com Kikolani

    That’s what it feels like at least. I went to look up a restaurant, and it took me right to the ones in my zip code. I’m reading emails about tennis, and getting ads for tennis related emails on the side of Gmail. I feel like Google knows everything about me sometimes.

    ~ Kristi

    • http://www.googlingsocial.com Chris Lang

      Every site you click a link to gets your IP address on the server, that is how you get a web page in your browser. Without the server getting your IP address then you would not have Internet. You would have a computer that does nothing but talk to itself.

      Google AdSense has been in Gmail for years. When you open emails that are highly keyword laden with keywords that advertisers use, then you see ads.

      Go to your spam folder, you will see advertising for recipes using Hormel Spam in scrumptious dishes your guests will love.

      Google does not know where you live unless you tell them. They don’t know you so well that they KNOW you play tennis.

      Every website you view a webpage from knows what your IP address is and I can get that too, within about 3 blocks of where you live. It is public information. It has been for the 10 years I have had websites up on the web, and it was long before that.

      You are worrying about something trivial, fagetaboutit!

  • http://www.searchen.com John Colascione

    Another huge sign that local web sites and geo domains are going to start increasing in traffic and value……

  • Chris

    Google dont know where you live, Google knows where your IP address is located, I did a test, searched for dentist and got the results showing me local results, THEN i went to a proxy site, went to google and did the same search and google gave me results for the city that the proxy IP address was in, so its just not google that can find out where you live (city, state) its any site that has a script to do a lookup on your IP address.

  • http://www.MoonlightSales.com/landing.htm Moonlight

    One of the problems stemming from Google’s wanting to knowing and see all, may have some undesired effects.

    Let’s say, Google has a physical address for an employee of yours, who works from their home. But when someone does a Google search for the business and that searcher shows up at the employees home, because Google has their address as the business address, and shows up at any given hour… this is becomes completely unacceptable and posses as a huge security and safety issue.

    Trying to get Google to change or remove the information is nearly impossible, and eventually the faulty information spreads like wildfire through other databases and search queries.

  • http://www.sgjgems.com SGJ GEMS

    what a smart discovery

    Wholesale gemstone,semi-precious stone,jewelry components

  • Guest

    Google maps is a very important tool in achieveing more leads and helping brand awareness. Find out more.


  • http://www.jexanalytics.com.au Judd Exley

    Happening here in Oz a bit too mate, though not as prevalently. I’d mentioned on SEO Journal’s blog that since Perth is so isolated it’s locally SEO’ed by default! But Googs doing it’s thing with the maps makes it heaps easier.

  • http://www.atlantadentalcenter.com Atlanta Dentist

    The thing I have noticed with the local search is that it does not always return correct results. For example if I search for “dentist” I get a listing for dentist on the other side of the state which is about 5 hours away. Definitely not a list of dentists you would likely be going to.

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