Google is testing a new map placement for local results. The old placement was in the organic, left hand side, listings, where Google would stick a map for local intent queries. Some are reporting seeing a similar map moved from the organic side to the paid search side, above where the AdWords ads would appear.
Mike Blumenthal posted screens and I have some screens from a reader at the Search Engine Roundtable. Here are some of them:
This one has notes of changes:
One thing I noticed between the two screen shots is that Mike’s shows the local listings in the organic results. The one I posted has organic listings as they are, without them being locally driven or associated with the map at the top right. I suspect, but do not know for sure since I don’t see it, that clicking on the map will shift the organic results on the left to become local results. Again, I need to clarify this with those who see it and I will update my post after.
For more coverage on this see Mike Blumenthal’s blog, the Search Engine Roundtable and Greg Sterling’s blog.
Postscript: A Google spokesperson confirmed this test with me via email:
Yes, this is an experiment with a small number of users that aims to make it faster and easier for people to find businesses and places of interest near them.