This week everyone in the “local” world is impatiently anticipating the big event of the year – the issue of this year’s “Local Search Ranking Factors“. In the meantime Google launched Google Offers and “+1″ button for websites. Surprising enough, neither seems to be quite what most expected (especially the button, which seems to be taking excessively long time to load). Besides the big news, some small changes in the layout of the Place pages were spotted by Mike Blumenthal.
This new navigation feature is only available when one accesses a Place page through a Google Maps search and not through a regular organic search list. Initial opinions are split depending on the point of view – although this innovation definitely adds ease to the user interface of potential customers, it seems like business owners do not enjoy seeing all their major competitors’ names on their own Place page. Together with the AdWords results on the right and the Related Places section near the bottom, the new feature is the third region in a Place page where a business’ client could encounter the names of rivals.
I spotted another interesting feature – something like Google Places Related Searches:
At first I thought that this is some kind of “substitution” for the organic Related Searches, but then I spotted this:
As observed above, the “local” Related Searches at the bottom of the page are still there even when the organic Related Searches are displayed at the top.
To give you a little bit of background on the development of the feature, I like this version better than a trial of Related Searches that Google launched a few months ago. The current feature seems to be better at bringing relevant suggestions, as they include different areas and suburbs of the city that the primary search targets.