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Has Google killed off the 'workaround' Google Places search, where you can see if a listing might be penalised or not? +Gene Maryushenko introduced it to me in my recent Hot Seat thread, and I've also seen it talked about on +Linda Buquet's forum.

For the search https://www.google.com/search?q=opticians+cardiff&num=100&as_qdr=&tbm=plcs, I used to be able to see a long list of Places-only listings, but today I get this message: "Your search - opticians cardiff - could not be completed with the requested search options. Reset search tools" - the "Reset search tools" link takes you to a normal (mixed) search. So I'm wondering if Google have 'patched this hole'?

Is it still working for anyone else?
Mike Ramsey's profile photoMike Blumenthal's profile photoMyles Anderson's profile photoLinda Buquet's profile photo
I've had the same issue today. Plus I think Brightlocal's Google+Local Wizard tool uses the same search query, as it stopped returning results for search terms around the same time. Which reminds me, I should probably raise a support ticket
Negative for me. Just returns the usual Google result
+Rod Lewis   just got this from Myles at Bright Local: 
Google has turned off their old Maps Listing results - which were displaying on links such as this - https://www.google.com/search?q=5+star+hotel&tbs=plcs:1&gl=us&pws=0
This change only affects the pure local results display - it doesn't affect Google main results (neither Bing & Yahoo obviously)
They made this change around 4am today and we have our whole team looking into options & solutions. We have found an option that will make CitationTracker & Google+ Local Wizard fully functional again.
However the Rank Checker is more badly affected because Google only displays 10 results on the page and not 50 results which we track right now. It's early days in our analysis but we expect that we'll need to make some significant changes to the way our Rank Checker functions. 
I'm also seeing that a search in Classic Maps is producing the exact same set of results as a search on the main page of Google.  Before, they were different. Is everyone else seeing that too?
Joy, I'm actually not seeing that they are the same. :(
"Boise Financial Planning" returns the same result as you're seeing +Joy Hawkins.
+David Mihm +Joy Hawkins   Here is what I am seeing: results are identical if geo-modifier is specified. Results are mixed if geo-modifier is omitted. 
+Dino Basaldella If I don't put in a city name - example, I just type in "realtors" - Google.ca (I'm in Canada) shows me a list of realtors near me (sort of). Classic Maps shows me a huge map of the entire northern USA so they are different. 

What I was referring to was that at Local U, +Mike Blumenthal did a presentation once stating you could check your pure maps ranking by searching a query on Classic Maps (ex: Plumber Denver) and then get your pure organic ranking by searching AOL. The mixture of the 2 was the blended results you'd see on a Google search.  So I used to always get a slightly different list order on a classic map search, but today they are now identical.
+Joy Hawkins that's still largely true, but "Plumber Denver" is NOT actually the query.  "Plumber" is the query, located in Denver...and Google definitely seems to be blending this.
Ah, so to see the maps results you should search Denver CO first in Classic maps, wait for that map to load, then search "plumber". Right?
+Joy Hawkins Yes...you can also set your location to Denver and then search "plumber". 
+Joy Hawkins Yep. I performed my queries using the same comparative basis as you did in your screen shot, only with and without the geomodifier.  I see now, what +David Mihm means by the actual query producing the blended results. 
Yeah I now get different things too. Sorry for getting this thread off-topic lol. I thought it was related. 
+Dino Basaldella thanks for the heads up on this. Saw +Steve Morgan post in my inbox too. But I'm on PST so just woke up. Let me play catch up on the forum and email then I'll see if I can find another work around. I have one in mind but need to test it.
+Joy Hawkins We're working on some updates now. The big difficulty for us is that Google is moving heavily towards a Javascript based solution which means that scraping to grab results becomes tricky. Their new maps interface is 100% JS based and very very hard to get accurate data from them.

Once we have a solution we'll let you know. And if we can find a workaround URL to use we'll let everyone know that.
I've got a blog post coming out on Moz later this week (I think Thursday?) but am interested in seeing if a couple of these things are replicable....see if this helps anyone (and let me know if it works):

1) do a generic search on google.com with your location set to a given geography (like "plumber" with location set to Portland, OR).

2) take note of pack results.

3) Type a URL like this into your browser with the location you are setting at the end:

When the page reloads, take note of the feature ID at the very end of the URL (usually starts with 0x):

4) Enter a URL like this into your browser:


The key here is to let Google pick the @ centroid for you (the page will reload before you see results).

Thus far this seems replicable this morning but I am interested to see what others have to say...
Yep exactly. I am hypothesizing this may be the "new" tbm=plcs. Requires much more testing of course.
Nope, not working for me anymore. I'm looking at other ways to get around this. It's too bad, it was a great find! 
+David Mihm so is there a way to do that trick of setting the # of listings to 100 to see listings that have been penalized?
Does anyone have an example of a listing the appeared to be "penalized" based on the old search string that no longer works?
+Joy Hawkins +David Mihm +Myles Anderson I've been seeing a big algo shake up since Friday or so. Are you seeing it? For example in the post above is screen shot of pack for Seattle Chiropractor. Abrams in that screenshot WAS filtered. Now they are B. In that screenshot Seattle Family was A but now they are locked out. But they have a spammy listing and jump in and out of the A spot every week. But there are 2 new players in the pack that do not normally ranking.

 I have been too busy to investigate too much but one observation is that Dr listings are taking over in blended where the practice used to rank.
 For instance for that query Matt Brown-Ruegg, DC ranks instead of Hillclimb. And I know that happens sometimes but I'm seeing it a ton the last few days.
+David Mihm I tried this a couple times and on the portland example there was a Casey Plumbing showing up that was not on the Google.com version for me. Everything else was in order. I tried the same method for a Las Vegas Search and everything lined up. 
Yes I've seen a huge difference +Linda Buquet .  Back in February the change was a good thing. So far this change isn't favorable to me.
+Joy Hawkins +David Mihm +Mike Ramsey we need a private place to discuss stuff like this. Google reads my forum and sometimes shuts the door when we find loopholes like this. They read this group too FYI.

I could set up a totally secure back room at my forum but honestly don't have time to answer emails and manually set everyone up individually that we'd want to let in for secret tricks, hacks and testing like the click test +Darren Shaw started at my forum. That one I think may have been discovered and thwarted by Google too.

I'd need to set up a bunch of new custom user groups to do a private test forum because some of you are Pros at my forum and have access to various private forums but others are not. So I'd need to set up like 4 new user groups and it's very time consuming and complicated.  Plus my forum Admin that helps me is off with cancer so I'm totally slammed trying to do everything myself.)
In the meantime we could always start an email chain :)
Lots of us use Gmail - not so sure that's totally behind closed doors with Google either - I always wonder.
+Mike Ramsey  Except Joel is a member there, so that won't work if we are looking for a place Google can't see. I think Joel is a pretty good loophole closer. Hi Joel, if you are reading this. ;-)
There's always Facebook. Pretty sure they don't share anything with Google :p
There are places that even Joel can't go ;-) 
Joel is no longer directly involved with local and only stops in when asked. He has other things on his mind
+Joy Hawkins asked about a good one for testing and I will share that. "Seattle Chiropractor". #1 organic is seattlefamily. They are also A in the pack occasionally but are usually locked out due to spam penalty. So that's a good one to test. For the past 3 weeks they have been locked out.

Just check regular SERPs to be sure they are locked out still and compare. Don't know why they pop in and out. It's almost like Google occasionally turns off that spam penalty filter or something.
I'm also working with a developer on a tool that tracks pack movement. It's VERY helpful in reverse engineering the algo and being able to eval why a client dropped.

It's VERY cool. I get an alert any time anyone in the pack moves at all and can track over time who was where. So then I can see that someone new popped into the pack and pushed my client down. OR competitor D just popped up to A, so then I know I need to try to figure out what he did that made him jump, etc.

Developer is having some GEO location woes though, so not quite ready for prime-time. But every recommendation I give him he's slowly pulling off, so time will tell if he's up to the task.
Sounds great +Linda Buquet - will be good to see these results and how volatile they are. 

I presume you're tracking pack results in main G serp and not maps page results?

Will you be aggregating results across all tests to show general movement? (similar to 51 blocks)
Hi +Myles Anderson  Yes tracking main Google search packs. No not aggregating. This is totally different than that. Specific to each KW + location.
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