Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land points to a Google Blog posting that announces Google will be displaying local results with reviews and links to more detail in its OneBox position:
From now on, you’ll see this every time you search for a place, business, or other local information. In addition to providing the basic contact information and map locations for several choices at the top of the page, we also show ratings and provide one-click access to reviews on the search results page so that you can make more informed decisions about where you want to go.
This is a much richer experience for users than the simple links to Google Maps. Google has only recently added stars/reviews to the search results page; they used to be buried at the profile page level. Until that change, Google Maps was most effective as a kind of “white pages” directory for specific business lookups.
Adding the stars at the search results level was a good and long-overdue change. However, I wish Google would add a “sort by rating” feature to allow the best-rated businesses to rise to the top on Maps.
Google Maps gets approximately 1% of the traffic that Google.com gets. So this Local OneBox upgrade makes strategic sense and sense from a usability standpoint. The one question is the algorithm and how these three results are selected.
Here are more new local OneBox results:
Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.