Sometimes in search you are alerted to something that is a bit dramatic in its presentation. Google has been experimenting with their positioning of the most critical elements of a local search SERP and it makes for some interesting “What if?” questions.
This new look SERP was brought to my attention from Mike Blumenthal’s blog. If you want to be on top of local search information Mike will certainly help you do that (or one of his readers in this case). I was able to replicate the result so here it is
The changes are pretty stark. The map moves to the top of the right hand column and actually scrolls down as you scroll down the page. The Place Page snippet is so integrated with the organic search results that it looks very much like an organic search result but with the map ID icon giving it a prominent place in the searcher’s eye. Also, rather than the usual “more info” link the anchor text is Place Page.
One of the images shown on Blumenthal’s blog actually shows these local results occurring before any other organic results.
So what might this mean? It means that the Place Page is uber significant to Google. It also means that Google is telling the directories of the world that their run in the organic SERP’s for local searches may be coming to an end. I think that is a GREAT thing because most directories are simply not that good. I would much rather get an actual local result right away when I am looking for local information. This kind of result set also makes more sense in a mobile SERP so Google may be trying to make these results commonplace so people can expect a certain result whether on a desktop / laptop or mobile device (preferably an Android device )
So keep an eye on this if you are interested in local search. Oh, if you are not interested in local search then you are just not paying attention.