Yeppers, Google went ahead and pulled the trigger on something we knew was coming for a while; Including local search results even if you DIDN’T add a location to your search query.
But is it effective? ehhh..yes and no. Mostly yes.
They state on their official blog -
How do we guess your location? In most cases, we match your IP address to a broad geographical location. You can also specify your likely location using the “Change location” link on the top right corner, above the map.
Well, I think the key word here is “broad”. My guess is that if you’re near a major metropolitan area, your results will probably not be far off. If you’re on the outskirts of one of those areas, you may need to refine things a bit.
To show what I’m talking about, I did a few quick searches – Here are the results (click the images to view larger):
First up- SHOES
Hey, hey – guess which shoe company is on top of their local optimization! Go payless!
Only problem is – I didn’t do this search from Tampa – I did it from Brandon, which is 20 miles east. ehhh- still, I can’t complain too much, since they do give you the option to refine your location.
Here’s a bigger problem:
Let’s do a search for “fish food” for my hungry fishies:
Admitedly, I doubt there a huge number of people searching the internet for local stores that sell “fish food” for their pets, but you never know.
However, it does seem like there is one industry google ain’t giving any love to for local searches, and that’s SEO companies.
Here’s what I get when I search for “seo company”:
Again, not to totally discount this feature – they do present local results when I performed a search for “internet marketing company”, but as I’m sure you already get the point, I didn’t see the need to include another screenshot.
What does this mean for SEOs and online marketing agencies? More focus on local optimization for sure – we know already that the “big 10″ map results get some pretty decent click love, so make sure you update your client’s information!
What does local search without the geo modifier look like in your town? I’d love to know -