I bet you’ve seen a lot of different ways that Google is displaying local search results as part of the new Google Places search product, right? And if you’re like me, you’ve thought, Wow, they’re still testing some pretty odd layouts for local search results…, right? Well, no. We’re both wrong. I sent the following six screenshots to Google and asked if they’re still testing different SERP displays, and the answer is no.
Before I post the images, here’s what a Google spokesperson said in response to seeing them:
The layout for local search results will vary depending on how confident our algorithm is in determining if you’re looking for local information. So in some instances you might see a full Place Search page, and in others, you’ll see a more condensed view. Of course, you can always click on the “Places” icon on the left to get the full Place Search view.
I followed up to confirm my feeling that there’s a lot more variety and a lot of new display options in Google Places now than before. Google confirmed that, yes, there’s “more variety with Place Search.”
Here are some that I’ve seen recently, and there are many more layouts beyond what you see below.
Common Place Search Display
This is what I’d call the most common of the new Place Search displays. It has regular blue links for some results, while others have a blue link combined with the place marker and data and a photo from their Google Places listing. The local results (with markers) show up randomly throughout the search results page.
New 7-Pack Style
This one shows seven local listings up at the top of the page, but they’re new-style local listings that combine the blue links and snippets with the red marker and local business data. Below the seven local listings are another seven “regular” results.
Old 7-Pack Style
Sometimes the “old” 7-pack is still showing up with a list of local businesses and their basic contact information — no photos, no title and snippet from their web site. This is just like the old 7-pack, except the map is off in the right column.
2-Pack, Old Style
Here’s the same thing, but instead of seven business listings, it’s just two. Again, no title and snippet from the web site, no photo — just the regular “old style” display that we’ve seen for a while, not the new Places display.
3-Pack, Old Style, Not at Top
This is the old-style 3-pack with the business listings showing a little further down the page. What’s old is new. This was a fairly common layout before the new Google Places, and it continues to show at times today.
Old-Style Authority Listing
The old-style, dominant “authority” layout is still alive in the new Google Places search, too.
Chances are good that you’ve been seeing these same displays quite often in your local searching, so I don’t expect that I’m sharing anything new in terms of images. The main point here is that Google is not still testing local search layouts, and as they’ve confirmed above, the new Google Places involves more display variety than the old local search did.
In other words, you won’t hear me say again that Google is still tweaking Places. Viva la variety!