It was huge news two years ago when Google first started showing maps and local listings in Google.com search results. It was even bigger news when that display went from a max of three business to up to 10 (the “10-pack” as we’ve all been calling it).
And I think today Google’s changing the local game again. You can now get local search results — a map, business listings, and all — even when you don’t do a typical local search. Mike Blumenthal discovered this today, and there’s already a good discussion started there.
Basically, there are a variety of terms (like “restaurants” or “plumbers” or “doctors”) that will produce a Google Maps/Local result even if you don’t include a city name or other geographical term in your query. Here’s a search I just did for “attorneys” —
As you can see, I’m getting local search results that appear to be based on my IP address. I’ve done a couple dozen generic searches and the map never shows at the top of the page; it’s always at the 4th spot or lower.
There are all kinds of implications here. I have an email in to Google for more information and am planning a more detailed write-up over on Search Engine Land.
I’ll update this post when it’s live, which may or may not be today. Update: My article on Search Engine Land is live, and with much more detail: Google Showing Local Results On Non-Local Queries
Comments are open if you want to mess around with this and share what you discover!