So this morning we were looking around for catering services for a bit of a party and noticed something quite different in the search results! It seems that local listings have now been categorised within the places portion of results, which has also seen organic results take another hit, being pushed further down the page except for the very first result:
You’ll notice that there is the ability to view only local listings for the noted category as well, which speaks to the idea that Google have very large plans for this element of search results and believe in its importance.
Not only this, but if you click on any of the businesses which pop up in the results you now don’t even leave the search engine! Instead it takes you to a page of search results for that business showing everything, from the site to the local listing, the website, Facebook, directory entries, yelp and pretty much the whole kitchen sink.
This sort of thing presents a double-edged sword to anyone doing SEO in that while organic results are obviously diminished in this scenario there is an opportunity to take advantage of local SEO, which in some cases can actually be much easier. Although we wouldn’t want to get you too excited about that prospect given that increased focus from a display perspective will likely be followed by increased focus in the form of an update to the Pigeon algorithm, which controls these results.
However with that said, it’s early days yet and this could just be a test, or like many other attempted changes it could end up being scrapped. But we’ll just have to wait and see! Let’s not go altering your SEO approach dramatically just yet.