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Google Panda Update Helps Local Search Results

New data shows locally-themed results flourishing

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Google Panda Update Helps Local Search Results
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As we continue to look at the fallout of the Google Panda update (more so since its international roll-out), we have yet more data to sink our teeth into.

Have you noticed an increase in local results since the Panda roll-out? Let us know.

CNET has now released some data, as it compiled about 100,000 Google results, testing Google.com in March, and then last week, just after the new update. The data reflects earlier reported data from SearchMetrics in terms of news sites benefiting and Demand Media’s eHow sliding.

One interesting element CNET’s data brings to the table, however, is that of Google’s localization and its relationship to the update.

“We also tested what happens if you connect to Google.com from an overseas Internet address. We picked one in London. We performed the same searches on the same day–the only variable that should have changed, in other words, was our location,” explains CNET chief political correspondent Declan McCullagh. “The results? Google engages in significant localization efforts, as you might imagine, with Yelp.com being the largest beneficiary by far.”

“In searches originating from the U.K., Yelp appeared only twice,” he adds. “In U.S. searches, by contrast, it was the ninth-most popular Web site, with both its topic and individual business pages weaved seamlessly into the main search results.”

SearchMetrics’ data did show yelp.co.uk as having a 29.59% boost in visibility.

Yelp picked up 45 first-page appearances for generic searches like “chocolate,” “cleaning,” “food,” “lights,” “laundry,” “tv,” and “weddings,” from a Califronia address, according to McCullagh, while Davidsbridal.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Walgreens.com also benefited in the U.S. from localization.

It’s not all just big brands though.

Local-based results won big too, based on CNET’s testing. Not just local locations for big brands or local businesses, but locally-themed results.

“For our U.S. tests, we used an Internet address near Palo Alto, Calif., which prompted Google to rank nearby businesses and municipal Web sites near the top of search results,” McCullagh explains. “The City of Palo Alto’s Web site appears in the first page of search results for terms including ‘adventures,’ ‘art,’ ‘business,’ ‘gas,’ and ‘jobs.’ PaloAltoOnline.com makes repeat appearances (‘budget cuts,’ ‘restaurants’), as do Stanford, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and Mike’s Bikes.”

It’s no secret that Google has put a great deal more emphasis on local in recent times, but it’s interesting to see how this is playing out in light of the Panda update, which was seemingly unrelated (based more on content farms).

We saw how news sites and video sites appeared to come out as big winners, but this research does seem to indicate even more wins for local.

The benefits to Yelp are interesting, considering the tension there has been between Yelp and Google, regarding Google Place Pages and their use of Yelp reviews. Google’s own reviews system – Hotpot – has now found its way into Places, and right into organic search results themselves.

If you’re interested in what Google has had to say about local search relevance factors, read this.

Google is also finding more ways to improve its local listings themselves. See the “open now” and local product listings, for example. Oh, and by the way, Google just launched Map Maker for the US, so users can add their “local knowledge” to the map.

Interestingly enough, as Google focuses more on local, the competition for local eyeballs is already heavily increasing. This is not just about search in the traditional sense. You have to factor in entities like Groupon, LivingSocial, Facebook, Foursquare, and others in these companies’ respective spaces (the lines between which are getting blurrier).

The more ways people obtain the information related to local businesses from sources outside of Google, the less they’ll need to search for that information with Google.

Are Google’s results better now? Tell us what you think.

Google Panda Update Helps Local Search Results
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  • http://www.connecticutplastics.com Michele L

    Yeah, we soon figured that out. But we don’t benefit from LOCAL RESULTS. what are the rest of us supposed to do. No one locally is looking for plastic machining. But globally, even nationwide, they are. We did better before the push by Google to promote local results. And we spend big bucks on our google ad word account. We are not happy about it.

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

      I’m with you on this one. Google is basically is becoming more of information overload. They’re interjecting their own results for their own products in search results which make the results look less organic and more like “We’re Google, we’ll give you what we want to give you”, instead of “Here are some organic results, enjoy.” I don’t mind if the rules keep changing to keep the person who abuse the system from being able to do it on such a large scale anymore, but who gonna stop Google from throwing up what they want when they want of their own websites? Why do we have to play fair and by the rules of Google if Google doesn’t have to for their own websites?

    • http://www.tallulahward.com Alec Ward

      I live in France and did a search for “plastic machining usa” and found you at 38.

  • http://kkltd.co.uk/ vybixa

    Yep, the local results is a good thing, but only to a point. MOST sites do not target local customers/visitors, but look to cast their nets (pun intended) far wider, and the internet is the best platform for this. The local organic boost experienced can NEVER compensate for the lost global organic traffic lost. It is, my good friends, time to slaughter the Panda!

  • http://www.howloseweightnyc.com/ Daniel Ardelean

    Yes, I think there is an improvement in Google Local Searches. And some of the US sites got better visibility in US but worst overseas.

  • http://www.ladwebdesign.com Linda A Dolente

    It’s very difficult to get local results for my small town. I recently searched for “homeowners insurance my small town” and all that came up on the first page of Google was a list of major insurance sites that were clearinghouses for insurance agents, and a Geico page – Geico doesn’t even sell homeowner’s insurance.

    I expected to see a listing of some of the major insurance salespeople within a 25 mile radius of me.

  • http://www.seowebexpert.co.uk Dave

    Local search is now far more important and Google seems to be integrating local search into more and more search – sometimes quite annoyingly.

  • http://www.tallulahward.com Alec Ward

    Local search has always been good to me. I had the ‘pleasure’ !!!!! of knocking off from no 1 a site which looked as if it had been glued there and as every analysis I did on that site indicated it shouldn’t it be on page 1 let alone no 1 it was very frustrating. It didn’t have the right length title, it didn’t have a good description, it didn’t have back links, but it did have quality content.

  • http://www.digafriend.com Social Networking

    www.digafriend.com Social Networking site daily local traffic is rising ewery day, but we have a lot of different sites which where havely affected by lounch of Panda

  • http://www.clearwebservices.com Will Smith

    Local results are great for small local businesses but for all other sites trying to hit more of a national audience, this is annoying.

    Google Places is a good idea in principle but when place pages start taking an edge over good, informative websites that have been working hard at their web presence for years, this is a bad thing.

  • http://www.net9design.com Duncan K.

    Great article. But I disagree with “Will Smith” comment. I think this is a welcome boost to local businesses and will hopefully remove all those listings from companies located miles away from the users location. Also a lot of search keywords are not locally specific and google recognises this. I believe it can only improve as google improves this area of it search results.

  • http://www.clearwebservices.com Will Smith

    I agree that local businesses should do well for local search results but should a Google Places page be more worthy than an informative website that has worked hard to be where it is?

    Google should reward local businesses that work hard get a strong web presence in that area. But what about national businesses that may offer that local area a better service? Google is not your local high street where choice is at a minimum, it should give users the best possible result for that search.

  • http://webhostingreview.info/managed-hosting/ smith

    can i get local results in India at my place will checkout

  • http://www.maildistributioncenter.com Direct Mail Services

    Thanks for the article.
    Google updated panda made efforts in SEO.Google’s own reviews system – Hotpot – has now found its way into Places, and right into organic search results themselves.
    Thanks again to share the info.

  • http://www.hedgehogdigital.co.uk/ SEO Bedford

    Some of my client’s websites had their local search results improves since Google rolled out Panda internationally. For most of my clients local is the way to go and where we convert the most.

  • http://paulhong.net Paul Hong

    The more I read about google panda, the more it sounds like google wants to get into the local market. From the looks of it, it will greatly help local small businesses and help people to find them by using locations. We will see a boost to Local SEO.

    thanks,

    • http://www.bigdaddytickets.com Jeff Moreau

      Have noticed that the local search results only go so far and are only targeted to a very few.
      With what I do see, I see repeat listings.

  • http://www.tabletpcunion.com tabletpcunion

    Good update. I like it. Thanks for the information.