Google has, apparently, been testing a new layout for select map results since July. Mike Blumental covers it pretty thoroughly on his post about the new Google Maps layout. The biggest changes to note for small businesses, in my opinion? The map on the right hand column, and more space for each maps result.
It seems as though this new layout is being rolled out to other locations. Check out the screenshot below for a recent search I ran recently for “Insurance Lancaster, PA”.
As was noted by Search Engine Land this is a pretty huge change. With it, Google continues to place more and more emphasis on local results. Organic results are being pushed further and further down the page, those companies lucky enough to show up in the maps listings are being given more and more space, and reviews, addresses, and other information is far more prominent. The map also follows users down the page now.
Since I’ve been tracking this particular term for a while now, I noticed another change – results that were ranking in the #1 spot organically, but not so well locally, appear to have had their results merged. The #1 ranking company in my screenshot was previously the #1 ranking company organically. As you can see, it now shows up in the local results.
A couple of tests returned mixed results for “Insurance New York” vs. “Insurance NYC”. In the former, the map still showed up in the right hand column, but less space was devoted to each listing.
You’ll also notice in my screenshots that Google is tracking my location (I’ve logged out and disabled web history to run these searches). Running the search through a proxy returned all of the results to the old “in-line map” layout.
This change first appeared for me on the 26th of October. So, does Google simply happen to be testing local search in Lancaster, PA? Or, is this more widespread?
Is anyone else noticing a difference in their listings for other locations?