Google Place Search New Changes for SEO & Local Search Results: What to Do for your Law Firm?

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Google has released Place Search, a new kind of local search that blends local search with organic search.

Dallas Criminal Lawyer Results

Dallas Criminal Lawyer Results

So what is new?

    1. Local Map is now moved to the right sidebar. I like this move, it organizes data better.
    2. For local searches, Google displays the top local places and non-mapped results. I also like this new blend of data, as the map no longer dominates.


  1. Now, both the map results and organic results are a blend of data. This is a big change. You need to make sure your law firm is listed both in Google Places and has an SEO campaign in place.

Is this a Big Change?

It does not appear that Place Search has replaced organic search. The map and organic listings are now a blend. For awhile now, if you searched for a city specific phrase, like “Dallas Criminal Lawyer”, Google displayed the local map on top, then the local results, then the organic results. It also displayed paid ads too, of course.

What Google has done, is a better job of blending organic with the local maps. You no longer are listed both in the map and in the organic area. There are no two bites at the apple with a map listing and organic listing, as there are no two separate areas. It is now combined. Google states “With Place Search, we’re dynamically connecting hundreds of millions of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations.”

The map no longer dominates the search result area. From a usability perspective this is a welcome change. If you are listed on the map, then your full organic result displayed, not just the bare bones map listing.

What Does this Mean?

  1. Google Places, Get Listed Today. It is now more important to be listed with Google Places. If you don’t already have a listing, get one, or let us help you get one (shameless plug). Why?”  The Places listings tend to dominate the top 2/3 of the results page now. Pure organic results are pushed down to the last 1/3.
  2. Have an SEO Campaign in Place. It is also equally important to have a plan for search optimization. Make sure you talk with your web designer or SEO team to make sure a plan is in place. Gaining a top search ranking for a local area will mean being ranked on the map and in organic search. Long-term, I also believe this will make ranking high for a term, where you are not located, more difficult.
  3. PPC Ads, What to do? It will also be interesting to see how this effects paid ad campaigns. This might put more emphasis on being in the top 3 slots on the page. In a purely informal eye-tracking study, when the page loads my eye tends to see Google’s logo first, then the top 3 paid ads (but I glance over them), then the map, then back to the search listings. I skip over the right sidebar paid ads completely, as the map dominates the content on that side.
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