Google Updates Local Search Listings

Doing some SEO research today and noticed an interesting local search listing update by Google.

Prior, a Google search using a local keyword such as “Nashville” or other location would display search results that included prominent display of Google Places listings along with a Google map in the sidebar (see below).

Google Local Search Results showing Google Places prominently displayed

Local Search Results with Google Places

Today, the search results for “karate lessons nashville” shows that both the individual Google Places listings and Google Maps in the sidebar are completely missing from the search results pages.

Instead, the search results display compressed listings with the address/location displayed below the page description with a link the show the map.

Google search results with new local listings (location links below page description)

New local search results with location and link displayed below description

Clicking on the location link then expands the listing to show the map embedded underneath along with additional links to view the Google Places page and/or get directions.

When expanded, local search listing displays Google Map

Expanded Local Google Search Results

This is an interesting search update by Google and I’m not sure if it’s temporary or if they’re just testing a new search listings option. By using this format, however, it does open the sidebar to display search ads higher on the page.

One thing I do like is that it places the focus back on the business (listing) instead of proximity. Because, as you know, just because a business is close to you, doesn’t mean it’s the best option or provides the best products and/or services.

What are your thoughts on the new listing? Have you seen this or any other local search results changes by Google. Drop a comment below.

Please post your thoughts and comments below. Thanks!