Google announces an update to local search results that shakes up how the engine displays SEO content.

Google recently announced on its Google+ page that internet users will now see different results when they conduct searches for bars, restaurants and other local businesses. Instead of displaying seven to 10 queries in an ordered list, the page serves results in an interactive “carousel” at the top of the screen. This update might force marketers to revisit their SEO strategies to ensure their website content remains visible in SERPs.

Users can scroll to the right to see additional results and hover over displayed thumbnails to highlight locations on a map shown directly below. By clicking on listed places, consumers will see review scores, photos and addresses. Web users can also restrict their results by zooming in on the map to show only businesses in certain communities and neighborhoods.

The page displays the majority domains below the fold, incorporating a mix of local search results and related news articles.

Brafton previously reported that internet marketing professionals noticed Google displaying “in-depth articles” in local search results, bringing longer reviews from respected publications into the fold with listings optimized for local queries.

Now, a search for “BBQ” shows a carousel with 24 local listings (in the Boston area) at the top of the screen, a handful of local domains, articles about the best regional barbecue from The Boston Globe and Zagat and featured ads appear below the fold.

Google's new search results display local domains before educational website content.

It seems Google is even delivering similar results for search terms that aren’t directly related to local bars and restaurants. A query for “vegan” serves the carousel along with a mix of local search listings and educational web content.

The Google+ announcement says the feature is currently only available in the United States and for English queries, but it plans to roll out the same results for other languages in the future. Perhaps more importantly, Google says this is not the end of the line for its changes to local SEO. It plans to bring more features and local places into the new search experience.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.