Google’s new results pages; the winners and the losers

Can someone please ask Google to take its ADD. medication? They’re going mad with new updates – as someone here said recently; they’ve been busier than bricklayers in Baghdad.

As you’re aware, in the space of three weeks we’ve had major updates to Google Places and their impact on the search result pages. Then just this week we’ve had Google Quick View to contend with.

So who are the winners in all this?

Well for starters, it’s thousands of mainly small to medium business owners, many of which have fluked their Google Places listings (whether claimed or unclaimed), and are ranking highly for locally based search terms.

What a fantastic free kick! I’m sure bottles of champagne have been popping in offices all over Australia, with a, “Here’s to Google” toast and lots of clinking glasses. Many of them probably couldn’t believe their luck when traffic spiked and enquiries started to flow.

But then Google launched “Quick View”; which means many businesses who haven’t invested in their website design have probably started to see traffic drop as people turn up their noses based on what they’re seeing in Google’s Quick View (or preview) mode. I know I have already.
What Google giveth… and all that.

And the losers?

For many businesses this is a sad tale. Folks who relied heavily on SEO (and quite possibly spent a lot of money either with an agency or internally) to improve and maintain their organic ranking positions have quite possibly done their dough.

If you haven’t checked your ranking positions recently, you’d probably want to take a deep breath and take a peek through the gaps between your fingers…

Online-only businesses without a physical store have probably been the hardest hit. Those and thousands of online directories offering everything from wedding related services to legal services have effectively been swept aside by the Google Places listings in the search results.

In terms of Google Quick View, any site which used to rank well but looks crappy will probably see a steady decline in visits. Might be time to call your designers in.

At the moment anyone with a full flash website would be rather unhappy as Flash is not supported with Quick View (yet).

For well designed websites, the irony is that the quality of the preview mode is so bad; it makes really gorgeous websites look quite ordinary.

The only option I can think of for one of my contacts (who has been dramatically impacted by these updates) is to start a Google AdWords campaign. That’s pretty dramatic.

Other winners will be Google Places optimisers. Whereas before we had a good grasp of the basics, I can tell you right now we’re researching heavily into this space.

I hope ultimately the real winners are people who use Google, but I also suspect Google are probably doing pretty well out of it too. Especially if businesses have to turn to AdWords to get their traffic back to where it was.

For more Online Sales expert advice, click here.

Chris Thomas heads up Reseo, a search engine optimisation  company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

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