Yesterday morning while I was looking for a dentist in Philadelphia, Google “served” me its new tested layout for the Google Maps 7-Pack (universal search with 7 results from Google Maps). In general the new layout gives local results more prominence on the search result page. Mike Blumenthals, who probably knows more about Google Maps than Google itself, reviewed the layouts with me and pointed out that he first heard about this more integrated local search SERP on July 5th. In both cases the new layout “surfaced” for medical related queries.
Below you can compare the current Google Maps 7-pack layout for “dentist philadelphia” with the tested version:
Current 7-Pack Layout:
Current Local Search Layout main Features:
- 7 links straight to the local websites
- the name of the business is a title of the listing
- phone number is displayed, no address
- some of the “web” results are still above the fold
- below the Google Maps results you can see 10 “web” results
- take a note of the site rankings
Tested Local Search Layout (Maps 7 Pack results are more integrated)
Tested Local Search Layout main Features:
- The HTML titles are used as the titles of the listings (instead of business names as it is currently)
- in addition to the phone number the full address is displayed
- you can see that the ranking order of the business was reshuffled a little bit
- the description from the home page meta tag was used in the local snippet
- notice however that the last three results do not display any descriptions. We initially thought that the listings with descriptions do not have meta tags (which is the case for dental.upenn.edu), however emergencydentist24/7 and demeonline have them. Not sure how to explain this inconsistency.
- below the Google Maps results we can see 6 “web” results” (mostly IYPs)
Also, in the first screen shot (the current layout) below the 7-pack we still have 10 “web” results (a few local dentistry websites and a few internet yellow pages). In the tested version you can see only 6 “web” results. In the tested version the business listings (i.e demeonline centrecitydentist) appears in Google Maps 7-Pack, but they don’t appear in th “web” results. In the current version, however, the local dentistry listings appear in both the 7-Pack and “web” results.
I wonder how this will play out. We will have to wait and see the fate of the new local search layout.