Google Places and Organic Listings Merge

Well Google look to be constantly tweaking things just to keep people on their toes, and here’s another one. On certain local searchs, Google Places and Google Organic Listings appear to merge. So if you had a Google Places/Google Local listing that appeared on the first page without being on the page 1 organic results, that source of traffic might just have been wiped out completely!


Whether this is a change to be rolled out permanently or just a test, I’ve no idea. It’s very early morning here, I was just trawling through Google and noticed the changes and once I got over the shock/surprise I decided to write a quick blog post.

For some localised searches it looks like Google has merged Google Places with the Organic Results though not for all the limited searches I’ve done. First Google did away with the 10 box listing, then they culled it down to the 7 box. Now in certain searches that 7 box listing have been removed, moving up the organic results to the top. The map is now placed on the right hand side, and there’s 4 or 5 pure organic listings. Who said Google organic listings were dead?

So this looks like a big win win for local sites that ranked well organically and that have a Google Places account.

So What happens to those that did well in Google Places but didn’t rank well organically?

Well one of my recent clients ranked in a 2 box listing for their main term, and on page 2 organically. Now the client appears to have been wiped off the first page of Google, leaving them with just a Pay Per Click listing on the 1st page.

The first page of screenshot for the search for ‘wedding photographer Liverpool’ above looks less cluttered, now it’s down to 10 or 11 results for certain searches in the main center column.

Different Displays in Different Markets

On another travel related search Google Places is still there but the Google Places listings are formatted slightly differently and the map has been removed to the side.

This is certainly one to keep an eye on. No doubt there’ll be more changes to come. Happy Halloween from Google, hopefully these changes won’t spoil the celebrations.

6 Responses to “Google Places and Organic Listings Merge”

  1. Marketing RecruitmentNo Gravatar Says:

    I have just come across your blog and would be inclined to agree that it is a win for Search. It is a big win, win for companies who have a Google Places account.

    One of the things which it is likely to do is to put pressure on the likes of and 192 as their searches are less inclined to figure in the first page of Google.

    Certainly local, niche companies will benefit and it looks as if it’s going to give those involved with SEO a number of new problems to fathom out.

  2. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Matt,

    Directory’s may suffer. I have one or two local niche directories that I’d be worried about.

    Though I did notice that a page from Yell appeared right at the top of a search I did when I was running a search query tests, when I first noticed the changes. I also saw a reference & link to Yelp beside a listing. I’ll need to look at this is a bit more detail.

  3. Marketing RecruitmentNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Michael,

    Having read more about this, it states that this will be rolled out fully within a matter of days. At the moment the SERPS are still changing about a lot and places is still not affecting all results.

    Good site by the way, I’ve just been reading one of your posts about companies in the US being charged $25 a month for a yellow flag and there is no doubt in my mind that this is where we’re heading. It won’t be too long before the whole first page will be paid for.

    All the best


  4. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Matt,

    Certainly interesting times. Will the first page become more or less paid? I’m not so sure, though Google will certainly look to monetize it further and why wouldn’t they. Though I’m not sure how the map on the right works with this strategy.

    If they lose revenue from missing ads on the top right, does that mean they have to place the ads some where else?

    They’ve been placing ads at the bottom of the page, but no doubt we’ll see more surprises.

  5. KevinNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Michael,
    I was about to embark on building a local business directory in my home town. Do you know if a webpage on a directory site that promotes just one business rather tahn a long list can be claimed for google listings or does a site in it’s entirity have to be claimed?

  6. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:


    You’re supposed to be the business owner to claim your Google Places listing. Setting up directories and claiming businesses that aren’t yours isn’t going to work.

    I’ve worked on listings that have been wrongly claimed by directories in the past and it’s annoying and a hassle claiming them back. Not sure if this practice still works, I suspect Google are more stringent.

Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced SEO based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own SEO Agency.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 923383 or use the contact form.

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