A week or so ago, we reported how Google removed SEOs from local pack in the search results. The move caused a pretty big debate in the industry where many SEOs felt this was a nail in the coffin for Google really hating the SEO industry. Personally, I think it is a fun debate, but I don’t think all of Google hates the industry.
In any event, Joel H. from the Google Maps team updated the Google Maps Help thread with a revised statement, implying that Google may change their minds on this decision. He said:
I think I understand both sides of the issue: I understand that local search results can have a positive impact for some businesses. But I also see that some SEOs/web designers want their website, not a local listing, to be the primary destination. And I want to clarify that today we think this is a better user experience – to display primarily web search results for some of these queries. Using words in or near seem to be suggestive of a different intent. In the end, these search results will fluctuate as we fine tune our results pages to get the user the best answer.
Again, he said, “I want to clarify that today we think this is a better user experience.” He also then went on to explain why the words in or near don’t always provide a clear indicator of local intent.
In any event, if I had to guess – Google will wait to see how both searchers approach the missing SEO or web design related local packs. They will also see if SEOs and web designers calm down over this change. I assume if SEOs don’t calm down about the change, Google might consider adding it back. But clearly, Google finds the categories either not relevant or too hard to handle from a spam perspective.
Forum discussion at Google Maps Help.