If you recall when Google Maps launched Place Pages last Fall, they had first represented that the pages would not be indexed to appear in Google organic search engine result pages (“SERPs”). Then, due to some “errors”, the pages actually did appear in organic results.
Now, in the last few days, I’m noticing more and more of the one-box listings appearing in organic SERPs.
Back when the pages did get indexed before, Danny Sullivan had followed up with Google and they’d said that they’d still display their Place Page’s One-Box unless there wasn’t a listing for the keyword search which would appear for an external, non-Google site page.
Trick is, I’d say they’ve now loosened the restrictions, because I’m seeing the Place Page one-boxes more frequently:
The boxes are showing up for places such as parks, neighborhoods, historical markers, monuments, and other non-business landmarks. And, they’re showing up in cases where there are indeed external pages available to represent the listings!
In the above example for the Custom House Plaza in Monterey, a listing for the official California State Parks website page is appearing on the first page of results along with Google’s one-box!
While the URL to the place page is not optimized with keywords, the expansion of Place Page One-Boxes is suspiciously counter to the earlier statements that Google intended to keep the Place Pages in Maps, not competing against other sites. In the cases I’ve been seeing, there are pages out there which could easily be more authoritative for the queries, but are pushed lower by Google’s own one-box listings.