Mike Blumenthal has been doing some great work today exploring the different test SERPs layouts that Google is testing out. If you’re just joining the conversation now, here’s what the new layout looks like (Thanks for the screenshots Mike):
Basically, what Google is doing here is meshing the organic results with the local results. While Google used to simply stick their 7 most relevant local results at the top, above the 10 organic results, Google is now giving those local listings much more screen real estate, pushing the bottom seven organic results off the page and onto the next page. As many industry watchers are saying, this is bad news for the IYPs.
A few interesting things to notice here: For the first time, Google is actually altering the organic results. If you showed up organically at #1 for “NY plumber,” and you ALSO had a local business result in the top 7, you lose your organic result.
There seem to be a massive amount of paid ads on the page. In one screenshot, I counted 3 on top and eight down the side. I’ve never seen 11 sponsored links on one page before (I’m no expert on this – correct me if I’m wrong here).
Bearing in mind that this is just a test SERPs page, and Google may or may not decide to implement it for the mainstream searchers, it does give us a nice insight as to where Google is headed with Local Search. They definitely seem more confident now in the accuracy of the Google Maps results, and feel that providing business listings from maps is the correct (most relevant) answer to a business+location query.