Google Updates Local Search Results

Google is releasing an updated look-and-feel for search results with a local component.  Previously, the local results were displayed in a very prominent map at the top of the search results.  This is an example of the “old” style local results:

Old Google Local Search Results Layout

Old Google Local Search Results Layout

Google has since updated their local results to place more emphasis on their local results listings while reducing the actual footprint.  Part of the reason for this change is to help eliminate map-spam (of which there is much).  The new listings look like this:

google-local-search-results-new

New Google Local Search Results

As you can see, the map has been moved to the right rail while the details are in the top of the organic space.  This has some major implications for both SEO and paid search.  For SEO and local optimization, it is now more important than ever to have pages and locations that rank well in local search.  The amount of a page that is devoted to plain web pages is shrinking, and some industry bloggers are also noting that Google has updated their algorithm to have local search sites pull through more often for queries like in the example.

For localized paid search, this will have some impact on any listings after number 3.  Depending on screen resolution and window size, a user may not see any listings under the map as they may be below the fold.  In this example, even the first and second paid ads don’t appear at the top of the page – they appear under the map.  Also, it should be noted that the map moves as the page is scrolled down.  The paid ads do not move with the map.

What do you think the impact will be on SEO and paid search? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Comments

2 Responses to “Google Updates Local Search Results”
  1. Google is placing more and more importance on their Maps. I think the short term impact on paid search may be that the paid ads are not showed as prominently, but I think Google is sacrificing some short term revenue loss in order to get Google Maps more popular. I think they will get back to promoting their paid links more after Google Maps gets to where they want it to be.

    I created a custom Google Map recently and noticed that using it on my iPhone is not easy. Also when I placed it on my website, I think the regular internet user may have a bit of trouble finding the zoom in and zoom out buttons. In my opinion, Google should make it so that when you hover over the map, you can use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out. As it is now you have to click the zoom buttons.

  2. pay per click managers says:

    Google is placing more and more importance on their Maps. I think the short term impact on paid search may be that the paid ads are not showed as prominently, but I think Google is sacrificing some short term revenue loss in order to get Google Maps more popular.