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Old 01-13-2013, 11:19 AM
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tonygreek tonygreek is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Lancaster, PA
Posts: 3,283
Originally Posted by BLC7 View Post
Yep, thanks. I did realize it was my first post after the fact. I've been lurking for the past week, and didn't realize I hadn't posted yet.
Good deal. Always glad to see new people in the web forum.

I'd like to retract that google "DOESN'T" blend places with organic under the definition that the places listing
Correct. This was my point as the first sentence emphatically said otherwise, while obviously, that is not the case. I assumed you maybe had a misinterpretation of something you read, which is why I asked for a source. I now understand that you were speaking in absolutes.

(When I was trying to understand where you might be coming from, I thought maybe you had somehow played the "telephone game" and formed a hybrid of the news that Google+ and Places pages are merging but now Google says not to merge them for service area businesses that don't have a customer-receiving address, and to delete the + page.)

in some cases, do merge with organic, but not all of them; and it cannot be stated as a universal fact as presented by OP. I jumped the gun in stating this as I've been reading this particular forum for the past few days.
Completely agree. In fact, I think you can comfortably go beyond "some", which, I would guess, you recognize as well. I missed that line of interpretation by the OP, although I only skimmed the original post as Mihm's article has been linked here at least twice.

I don't have a report or any expert guru claiming the death of blended/merged listings, but I do have real life examples of listings NOT being merged if the definition of blending/merged is:

Google takes your organic listing and blends/merges with places listing to give you one 1st page listing instead of two. Let me know if this is the definition you understand to be true, and I'll follow up with proof it's not always the case as more times than not listings will not be merged.
I see this on a day to day basis. And, yes, that's the definition. No need to submit proof, as I also know this to be true. My point was regarding your original comment. If you were to write it as a blog post, I think it would make a great link-bait title (not at all meant as a pejorative), albeit with an asterisk at the end, like "FYI: Google places & Organic listings are NOT being merged into 1 listing*." and then a sub-header of * all cases.

The fact is the 'blending' began rolling out early 2012, and for some reason Google never followed through completely, or is extremely selective in the markets and/or criteria they actively target.
Blended results go back to 2010, but I get where your overall point is coming from. You're dead-on with your notion that it's, without a doubt, market and criteria-related. Although, to me, it's not a matter of following through completely, but is Google's attempt to continually display the "best" results. If that means they feel the need to display maximum Local results, then you'll see the 7 Pack. If it's not, then you might seen no Local, or a 3/4-Pack hybrid.

I find it more likely search volume related than anything else. In some loose, casual comparisons, I see it reflecting the Adwords traffic estimator and keyword suggestions. If you search [service, city], you might see the blended results. If you search [different way of saying service, city], you can see them turn on/off completely, or a hybrid of a 3 pack and backfill from pure organic or universal. "Lawn Care Service" and "Lawn Mowing Service" is one where I see this occur, although it's easily substituted with others. Sometimes, it's a simple matter of not showing Blended for shadier areas or known industries of abuse. If I search "web design columbus oh", there are zero Blended resutls. If I change it to "interior design columbus oh", the 7-Pack shows up. It's pretty obvious why this occurs. Like everything else, it's a matter of Google's whims, dial tweaks, and protective measures.

At any rate, I understand you've been here since 2004, and have built a reputation. I'm not here to step on anyone's toes or get into a pissing match with another "seo guy", because frankly, I don't have anything to prove or to sell anyone.
Count me as one who doesn't think join date means anything other than I haven't been banned. lol I love great discussions that go a layer deeper, and almost always those are going to find their origins steeped in miscommunication, misinterpretation, or an emerging idea. Only time you'll ever see me trot out the "I've been here longer than you" chest-puffing is when I reference my post on the death of meta keywords long, long ago, and even then it's only for amusement purposes.

However, the merged/blended listings are not widespread as the "experts" want their followers to believe.
I guess it comes down to what you define an "expert" as. In SEO, I'd give that label to no more than 10%, with the other 90 being, frustratingly, hustlers. It would be nice if the 10% was more prevalent but, quite sadly, that's not the case. Honestly, I can't recall ever seeing any legitimate expert say that all results are blended, or even alluding that there's any overwhelming majority.

Cheers and thanks for the great discussion points. Hopefully, people will test the different ways that they do or don't trigger local results for their keywords and start to see how everything is works together.
I know lawn & landscape marketing, branding, and web strategy. I'm not anonymous, I just don't self-promote.
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