Google has changed they way they are serving local listings in Google. Now, each listing has a “fly out” that replaces the Google Maps area on the right-hand side of the page with the company’s knowledge graph.
This style has been appearing for some users off and on for at least a year, but now it seems to be live for all users both within the US and internationally.
Here is how local listings normally appear.
It doesn’t appear to favor specifically those listings with more visual content within the knowledge graph for these fly out style listings. For example, the third result on the page results in a rather boring looking knowledge graph for that listing:
It features the regular Google map instead of photos and more.
But the listing below it shows a much more detailed listing in line with the first and second ones.
This change definitely makes it much easier for users to compare quickly between business listing without having to constantly click a business and then click the back button again. Especially for those that are interested in reviews and photos of each business, being able to see the results with just a mere hover with the mouse is a huge time saver and makes it much easier for the searcher.
There is sometimes a delay before the first listing is displayed on the right, so take the slight lag into account if you are replicating.
It also makes it even more important for businesses to ensure the information is up to date, as you can see from the third listing for BTI Whitewater, the resulting Google+ page leaves a lot to be desired. It could be easily rectified through Google My Business to make it more enticing.
This local listing style is something that has been appearing for some users off and on for over a year, but it did not always appear for all results. It now seems to be live for everyone now, including those outside of the US.
There does not appear to be any corresponding change in the mobile search results.
Added: This seems to be the full international roll out of this feature in the search results.
H/T to Kristine Schachinger
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