Earlier this week, Google changed the rules of the ‘search results’ yet again, by rolling out a new presentation for displaying locally focused search results, called ‘Place Search’!
Up until this week, a search for a local service or business would usually cause a map to be displayed, accompanied by a list alongside of 1, 3 or 7 businesses with their pins on the map.
That has gone overnight !
These local search results are now consolidated with the ‘natural’ search results to provide a single unified list of ‘relevant and local’ search results.
The sample ‘before’ and ‘after’ images below from the recent searchengineland.com blog post illustrate the change:
Here are the search results prior to the change.
And here is the new page for the same search:
So what does this mean for locally focused businesses?
It dramatically increases the importance of Google Place Pages (formerly Google Local Business Centre/Google Maps) in determining the overall web rankings, so gaining citations and reviews on third party sites such as Yelp and Qype will need to feature more prominently.
The increased focus on delivering local business results for local searches may also cause directory and listing sites to be pushed down the ranking and potentially off the first page.
Are you targeting businesses in your local area? Then call WSI Chester for a free internet marketing review, and learn how you can make your web presence felt – locally!