By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
It was mentioned yesterday on Search Engine Land that in the United States, Google would now be providing their own map data, instead of using data (as they did in the past) from a company called TeleAtlas. While local search expert Michael Blumenthal provided details in a blog post regarding the changing of map data, I wondered how the changes may affect results when using Google to search for local chiropractors.
As not to be too biased in selecting cities, I went to my chiropractic twitter account and asked “name a random city please.” Replied results included New Orleans, Knob Lick, Denton, Defiance, and Poteau.
This is a good random selection of cities because it shows that when it comes to searching for local businesses and services, google map results aren’t always going to be displayed, especially in more rural areas.
I started my search with Defiance, Ohio. I failed to get local map results for search terms like Defiance Chiropractor, Defiance Pizza, Defiance Restaurants, Plumber Defiance, or Dentist Defiance (thanks to Michael Gray for the city suggestion).
My first thought when no Google Maps results were returned was that there wasn’t enough information on local businesses to serve up a Lucky 7 local maps listing. There were traditional organic search results for each business category, many of them being from sites that provide large amounts of city data, but no maps.
I did the same searches (chiropractor, dentist, etc.) for Poteau, Oklahoma and had similar results. No map data was displayed for any of the business categories I searched in that area. Thanks to Serena Ehrlich for the city suggestion.
Chiropractor Adam Tanase suggested Knob Lick, Missouri and I was fairly certain I’d get the same results as I did in the previous two city searches. The area is south of Farmington, along Highway 67, and it appears to be quite rural.
WordCamp LV guy, John Hawkins, suggested Denton Texas. This is more what I was after, but I did ask for random cities, and I like how it shows the results are varied.
Chiropractor Denton Texas map results
I performed a search for Denton chiropractor and got back the results I was looking for. The screenshot above shows map data is provided by Google and if you count the red markers you’ll see that there are 7 (A – G) with a choice to view more results as the last selection. It looks to me like selection E is nearest to the centroid for the city (notice where it says Denton on the map) but it’s not the first listed result. Interestingly, when searching Dentist Denton, the top result (A) was nearest to the centroid. The results vary when searching pizza or plumber. Let’s take a look at one more Metro area.
Chiropractor New Orleans map data
The city of New Orleans was suggested by Michelle Robbins, and like the results for Denton, there were seven businesses listed on the map when including the term chiropractor in the search. In this case, selections A. and E. were closest to the city centroid, with E. being slightly closer.
I can’t recall what the data looks like for every city, but in many areas I’ve looked at, it appears that the local map results being served up by Google has changed from what was appearing when 10 Box or 3 Box (remember those?) local business results were being displayed. I may not be ecstatic about every result, but I like the looks of the Lucky 7 Box, it’s easier to read than 10 provides more results than 3. Change is good.