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Instant Search – Impact on Google Local Maps SEO September 10, 2010

Posted by Daniel in SEO, WebStuff.
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With all the buzz about Google’s new Instant Search, I wanted to get an idea on paper (well, e-paper). I’ve been reading as many articles as I can get my hands on, trying to differentiate the panic and pandemonium from the insightful and helpful. Most of what I’ve found has been obvious observation. “Search has changed before, and it will change again. Those ready and able to change with it will continue to be successful SEO’s.” I’m mostly seeing downers and people thinking of this as more work.

But if you’ve been spending any time working on legitimate local listings in Google Places… (and by legitimate I mean you didn’t buy an address downtown and list your 3 keywords as the business name – when I find you I flag you ruthlessly) then you should instantly benefit from Instant Search. Here’s why:

As a searcher is searching for the product or service that he needs – lets say movers – the instant results will most likely pull up a map of close results based on the geo-location of the searcher’s IP address. The listings on that map, according to some random tests I’ve run, change as the searcher continues to type in more letters for his search. The order and possibly even the location change as the search term(s) get more detailed – giving more local and maps options within one search, than a normal searcher would’ve ever seen or considered before Instant Search.

Screenshot of Instant Search Results

Notice the Map is the top result, and note the local listing ranking order...

Instant Search Screenshot

Now notice that the map is the 4th result and that the rankings have changed, just by adding a space after the first word of my search.

After certain Bing looking filters were added to Google’s results, it looked like Google was falling into the trap of copying their neighbors (aka Bing) for ideas, and while I’ve read some rumors that Yahoo had Instant Search 5 years ago, and ditched it. It’s nice to know the search-game-changers are still trying to change the game.

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