Well there have been a bunch of busy bees in the Google local search hive. Local has been under the knife a few times. From reset data, to cool visual effects. These are today’s changes in Google’s local blended results.
The New Gray Google Map Marker
Less intrusive, less eye catching, more interactive.
Rolling over the this gray marker will change it blue for pay per click (PPC) ads on the right, or red for organic listings on the left. Scrolling over markers in the google map section highlights the respective listing markers in the PPC and organic section. You will also get a nice snippet for the local organic listings. No snippets for PPC. It’s also interesting to note that the listings have moved the once red-pins-now-gray-pin to the right of the blended results. Google also removed the triangle pointer they once displayed for the top listing.
Blumenthal alludes to the fact that the move from grey to red might be happening because Google is losing revenues on the local results. So this could decrease traffic to the local listings. But at this point we don’t know how much this will effect traffic to the local listings.
The Local One Box Left-Foot-Shuffle
The One Box moved it’s map to the right, the area usually occupied by PPC ads. … Just a new look?
Changes to Listing Preview
In the past a listing preview would show a screenshot of the website for both local search results and regular search listings. Now the local search results show a smaller screen shot accompanied by a map, images found in google places, quick glance of categories, business hours, review sites with review count, and a feedback link.
The feedback link takes you directly to the “Report a problem” screen of google maps.
If the red pin change was due to a decrease in revenues then it might be interesting to note that this preview is pushing Google’s property a little more. Further, the other review sites are now only visible in the extended view. In the past those sites were found under the place page listing.
Local Bug Report
In the image below the cursor was over the map and it was highlighting the first PPC ad for Bulwark Exterminating and not the correct ad for scorpion control. Just a minor scripting error.
This happened again in a Houston search. The marker with no number indicates “not on the map”, the marker with the 1 in it on the map belongs to a different Houston pest control company.
With all the recent updates Google has been moving the local map rankings around. And sadly Bulwark Exterminating dropped out of the Houston pest control local pack. Clearly something is wrong. Needless to say, we have found a few bugs here as well. Not simply because Bulwark wasn’t listed, but because Google was listing a cash parked page from Godaddy that’s for sale. Apparently on-site SEO has little to no relevancy in Google’s Local Listing algorithm.
Just a few minor bugs google may want to check into. Overall, Google has done a good job with their local search section. Overall, they still have a lot of problems to fix.