May 15, 2013 by Ryan Miller
While Google has been hinting at publicly revealing a massive revamp to maps section at the upcoming I/O Conference this week in San Francisco, it appears that a local listings makeover in Google universal results is already starting to get rolled out, or at least tested to gauge reaction.
Doing searches specifically in Google Chrome now yields the following local listings results, for searches done for restaurants, bars and hotels:
In place of what we have come to know as the “7-Pack” or blended local results, now the local listings are specifically confined to a scrolling box at the very top of search results, and includes an overview map showing where all the listings are physically located. Additionally, each business gets a small map to show where it is located, their Zygat (or equivalent) score, price and category listed with it.
Clicking on the business does a new search for that business’ name and city location, while keeping the local scroll pack visible at the top:
Interestingly, I was unable to replicate these results outside of Google Chrome, with both Firefox and IE still providing the currently standard local business listings for search queries like “New Orleans Chinese food”.
Google is constantly testing how they display results, so it will be worth watching to see if this catches on and expands to all local categories or not. If so, this could force the local-focused SEO industry to reexamine their local approach. For now, pay attention to what may be revealed as part of the Google maps makeover at their conference.