• http://www.planetc1.com/ chiropractic

    Hmm, I tried searching some of those terms and I’m getting local results “near San Jose, CA 95134” (I’m in Los Angeles) although there is an option to change location. Interestingly, the ads are localized correctly, just the organic results are off.

  • http://devbasu.com devbasu

    Hey Matt,

    Great coverage! I believe I was the first to report this happening way back in December ’08. Check out http://devbasu.com/google-suggest-local-search-keywords-generic-searches/ for my coverage on Google localizing search and thus changing user behaviour. As a result, I’m making sure all my clients have local keywords as part of their optimization program.

  • Matt McGee

    Dev – this is different. This isn’t Google offering a local search bar, this is flat out putting local listings on the page on non-local searches. Look at the screenshots. Do a search for “pizza” and you should see business listings and a map, not just a “did you want to give us a location?” search bar. :-)

  • http://www.bluelynxmarketing.com bluelynxmarketing


    Good article. I focus most of my efforts on the local business community and feel that this is great news. I did notice this in January when I wrote an internal article to show potential small business clients how changes have leveled the playing field. As a matter of fact I used the same example “Pizza” to prove the point.

    Well done in putting this together.

  • http://www.bluelynxmarketing.com bluelynxmarketing

    Edit – I double checked and noticed I wrote the article on Feb 5th.

  • AngieL3M

    Great post, Matt. That’s big news for consumers and search marketers alike. We noticed it on MSN as well, and found the singular/plural phenomenon to be true there too. Nothing happening with Yahoo! though (see our report from Monday here: http://www.expertsem.com/2009/03/30/new-format-local-map-listings/). I think the “Change Location” button will be big for travel/tourism businesses. If you’re searching for hotels, you usually don’t want something in your area (unless…well…I’ll pass no judgment!). But if you click “Change Location,” you can modify your results to match a location you will be visiting. Definitely makes it a bit more challenging for some companies and us search marketers, but it’s great for small businesses.

  • http://www.pixelsilk.com MarkKnowles

    Another oddity is if you google for “local pizza” you don’t get the “10 Pack” / map. Also, the top 10 organic results don’t know where I am. (seems odd)

  • http://ItsTheROI.com Jonahstein

    Repeating Andrew’s test for “burger”, I get the worst of two worlds. The big brand bailout effect lists 9 Burger Kings out of 10 results AND google geo locates me in San Francisco, even though I live across the bay in San Francisco.

    Overall, I would rank the first implementation as FAIL

  • http://ItsTheROI.com Jonahstein

    I meant to say across the bay in Berkeley.

  • ablears

    Interesting. I don’t think Google is determining location by IP though.

    Why? Well, I’m based in London, UK, and when I do a search on google.co.uk for ‘pizza’ I don’t get any local business listings. If I repeat the search on google.com I DO get what Google thinks are local results inserted into the page… unfortunately the results are local to Auckland, New Zealand. This is because I have my UK Google Maps (http://maps.google.co.uk/) starting location set to Auckland.

    It’s reading that rather than looking at my IP address.


  • MercruyWilly

    Now the question is how is the 10 pack list determined? It does not appear to be based on a central location. There must be other factors.

  • stefanw

    Stefan from @Live_search here. You know we also do something similar to this today in many cases. Example – enter “traffic” on live.com – we will try to detect your physical location and provide you a real-time map of your city’s traffic (sorry – it prob wont work for Kennewick :)). Same with “weather” or “movies” (altho those should work in kennewick). Additionally, we will pull up local biz listings if you type something like “sushi new york” or “austin bbq”. Just a heads up!

  • KenOConnor

    Hi Matt,
    Great article – well done.
    The comments from around the world are fascinating also, especially those that throw light on whether Google is basing results on IP address or something else.

    I am based in Dublin Ireland. As yet, Google does not include Local Business Results on Google Page One for the Republic of Ireland. Google does include Local Results for Northern Ireland.

    Mark, perhaps you or one of the people following your articles could explain the following for me:
    A search for “Dentist Belfast Northern Ireland” includes Local Business Results.
    A search for “Dentist Belfast Ireland” DOES NOT includes Local Business Results.

    Rgds Ken

  • http://www.contentwriter.com.au contentwriter


    Thanks for the insightful article. Here are a few observations from Coffs Harbour, which is 540km north of Sydney in NSW, Australia.

    1. “The pizza search”
    When I type in “pizza” I get the three largest chains first and then the 10-pack – with pizza places in Sydney. I get the option to change my location but don’t dare, as I don’t want to only see local results from now on!

    2. Search results debatable.
    I agree with observation 5) in your post that the first three or so so-called local search results are very debatable. In the queries I tried, the results towards the top were not helpful at all.

    3. Local, regional businesses targeting customers countrywide or internationally lose out big time!
    Your statement under What it means #1) that this is great news for small/local businesses is ONLY true for small businesses targeting LOCAL customers. But what about small businesses targeting regional, national and international customers? I am a content writer / web copywriter and rank #1 or at least very high in Google Australia on those and several related terms. This is how I my business works and how I get work. However, I am not in Sydney or Melbourne, but most of my clients come from the big cities and from all around the country & the world. Will these people still see my website come up in their search results, wherever they are? I sure hope so, otherwise I may as well give up now.

    I’ve got one glimmer of hope and that is that I don’t see local results pop up when I search for the terms I target. I sincerely hope that Google is smart enough to ONLY serve up local results for retail and food outlets and other businesses that are more likely to target LOCAL customers only.

    Do we know how Google decides for which terms to serve up local results?

    Content Writer Micky
    Coffs Harbour, Australia