Google has quietly rolled out an updated look for Google Maps search results.
The new interface is a lot cleaner, featuring a scrollable search results panel on the left, which users can easily click on to zoom in and read more.
Here is what the new layout looks like…
Additionally, a new listings card appears when a user clicks on the search result.
As you can see, the listings card is highly visual, making it more important than ever for local businesses to have optimised imagery in place, to accurately reflect the service, product or location they wish to promote. Not only is quality of image important, but so is size, so that it fits the card perfectly. If you’re a multi-location business, tools such as our Local Presence Management (LPM) can help to take out some of the leg work with this, to ensure accuracy and consistency across all of your Google local listings.
As an additional feature, users can filter results by star rating. So if a user was only interested in finding a hairdresser with a 4 star rating or above, Google now makes that nice and easy to find.
With customer reviews being given more prominence than before, it’s essential businesses are giving priority to managing their local reviews. Negative local reviews can damage a brand perception at a national level if they are not properly addressed. With LPM businesses can filter their reviews by ratings within the user interface. This allows them to focus their efforts on the negative reviews, to help provide a positive outcome. The review rating is one of many ranking factors Google uses within its algorithm. The better the rating the more chance of ranking higher in the web search or map results.
It’s also interesting to see how the new interface reflects the look and feel of the new hotel finder results. Additionally, in terms of timing, the launch follows hot on the heels of Google’s update to its ‘local pack’ search results to show three local results instead of seven. It also fits with Google’s beta ‘home service ads’ program, something we’ve written about recently, which tests a new hyper local ad unit featuring pre-qualified listings for home tradesmen.