Google Indexes More Place Pages… Again

by Chris Silver Smith

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:

Custom House Plaza One-Box in Monterey, CA

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.


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2 Responses to “Google Indexes More Place Pages… Again”

  1. Actually this is what is known as a branded one box and it has been in the Google SERPS since early 2009 or even late 2008.

    It has not been seen that frequently in the past as it requires that Google be able to ID your location via the browser. Now that more browsers have baked in the geo location capability. this type of result is being seen more frequently.

    This is distinct from the indexing of Places Pages.

  2. Silver says:

    I know what branded one-boxes are, and I think this is distinct from it. For one thing, this is showing up for me for non-brand terms (note I said parks, neighborhoods, historical markers, etc). Second, when appearing embedded in listings, the map image is much smaller than for branded one-boxes.

    In my opinion, it’s pretty much semantics whether this is “indexed” via spidering, or showing up only when invoked under special circumstances in organic results. In the example I cited above, there are pages which could represent the Custom House Plaza listing. So, why should it appear?