Marketing 2 min read

Google Quietly Rolls out new Local SERP in Europe

Denis Linine /

Denis Linine /

Google has rolled out a new local SERP in Europe with branded directory buttons displayed above the map.

Back in April 2019, Google started experimenting with a local SERP that featured prominent alternative directory sources for the same query. At the time, reports noted an example of the new local SERP in Germany.

Now, it appears that the search engine giant has rolled out the update — with branded directory buttons — across some European countries. These include the UK, Spain, Belgium, Greece, and France.

The change is a result of Google’s continuous quest to comply with the European Commission‘s antitrust decision in shopping search. According to the report, the new SERP could also be an attempt to pre-empt another antitrust action in local search.

Last year, Yelp criticized these types of screens. The business directory service pointed out that Google was trying to bring back rival links, which the European Commission had previously rejected.

One obvious question to ask here is:

How Does Google Select the Directories to Display in Local SERP?

Unlike the solution in shopping search, the directory box is not an ad unit. That means you won’t find a “sponsored” or “ad” label in the chosen directories or the carousel above it.

As such, we can only assume that a Google algorithm selects the directories to display.

For example, clicking on a directory box link could take users to a category page for some brand. Meanwhile, it could also link to a business profile page in other cases.

Also, some searches – such as dentists, London – produce a carousel with multiple alternative directories. While some directories appear on the first SERP below the map, others do not.

Google has not issued an official statement on the changes. Also, It’s still not clear how the European Commission would react to the new approach.

However, the commission might find it acceptable if it drives some meaningful traffic back to publishers.

Read More: Google’s Nofollow Update to Roll Out on March 1, 2020

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