Google could be seen as an ever changing organism that constantly adapts to what it believes is the end user’s needs, whether they understand them or not. In the latest evolution of the search engine, Google has started location-based results to searches that don’t involve a location.
Take for example a search for the term “sushi”. Rather than just listing 10 sites, Google has started adding a map result listing either 3 or 10 different after the 4th result. See the screenshot below:
There are some interesting caveats in the results. After we tested the results, we found the following:
– There are variations for the number of map results that are displayed. We have seen results that have 3 map listings, as well as results with 10 listings. For less popular searches, there are fewer results displayed. For the more popular (competitive results) they display the extended list.
– The term you search for has a huge influence on whether the results are displayed. Variations such as plurals will make a difference if the results are displayed.
– It’s not just businesses that display these results, it’s also other results like swimming pools, parks and schools.
Google determines which results to serve by your IP address. This works well if you are hosted near your actual location, however if you are on an interstate/international hosting, you may see results different to what you would want. We are confident that Google will continue to modify this service, to ensure that the most accurate locations are shown.
These changes will hopefully make searching easier, as results will be tailored for a specific location. Google Maps has become an excellent marketing tool over the last few months, bringing highly qualified traffic to specific local businesses.