Around a week ago I was checking the results for a local restaurant that I recently started working with and I noticed that they had moved up the search engine result pages at a faster than expected pace.I thought this was extremely strange, especially with it being a brand new domain so I decided to do some digging.
It turns out that Google have reverted back to the old style embedded local results, instead of displaying blended results, which could dramatically change the landscape for a massive number of search terms. Not a lot of people noticed this change and it was done without any kind of announcement.
It is unclear at the point of writing this article if this is just happening in the UK or if the change is worldwide.
We know that blended results were influenced by both traditional organic and local ranking factors, at the moment it would appear that the 7-Pack rankings mimic Google Map results which would leave me to believe that the ranking factors may have changed dramatically too.
It would appear that this change may have lead to a dramatically different landscape for a large volume of search queries.
It is unclear at this point why Google would flick a switch and revert back to the old style results. The search engine result pages now look less rich than they did befre.
Maybe they are testing something, or maybe there are commercial reasons behind it. Who knows?