Now, whenever you “Google” a type of business, say, “web design in Williamsburg VA”, the Local Business Results appear at the top, center, and can completely take up the page.
They’ve moved their Google Places Map to the right and, as you scroll the page, the map floats to the top and hides their income-producing Adwords ads (we’ll see how long that lasts!).
Reviews now appear with each listing, or to the right if it. You can read them with a single click, or click right to the Place page for that business.
Phone numbers are now displayed prominently to the right of each listing, and listings can display Google tags and a lot of other info.
Reviews and citations are now way more visible. Not only does Google show the number of reviews, it also shows third-party sites like Yelp, Insider Pages, etc. and how many reviews are on those sites.
Traditional, or “Classical”, SEO is a big factor: Google specifically says that traditional SEO factors will heavily affect who shows up for local searches, and Google will apply the local data to create the results. We found a great article that offers a ton of good info and more advice on this, @ How to Rank Higher in Google Place Search.
If you have satellite offices in different areas, be sure to add these locations to you Google Places account, AND optimize all your listings, wherever they are. Think of them as mini websites (aka “microsites”) for your business or organization, driving traffic to your main site and to your business!