Google brings big changes to local search for US consumers

Google brings big changes to local search for US consumers

In a move that could affect the decisions that marketers make when it comes to search engine optimization strategies, Google recently announced a number of significant changes to the way in which local search results are displayed for US users.

Writing on its Google+ page, the company confirmed that users will now be given the results of searches for restaurants, bars and other local firms via an interactive wheel or ‘carousel’ near the top of the screen.

Users of the search engine will be able to scroll right to move through the different results, hovering over thumbnail images to highlight different businesses given on a map below.

When one of the results is clicked, the user is provided with review scores, as well as available photographs of the establishment and its address. Results can be refined further by zooming in on the map, which means only results from the area displayed on screen will be shown.

For example, if the term BBQ is searched, Google might present two dozen listings near the top of the screen, with supporting information – such as local articles relating to BBQ and local domains – appearing below the fold.

While the changes are, at the moment, only available for users in the United States making queries in English, Google confirmed it has future plans to roll out the update to allow for searches in other languages. Whether or not the update will be made available for internet users in other countries, including the UK, has yet to be confirmed.

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