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Google Testing New Layout for Mobile Local Search Results

Google has made it pretty obvious that it’s prioritizing mobile user experience this year. Over the weekend, I noticed an update to local results on my phone:

The updated layout showcases a sleeker design and offers a much more seamless user experience. Note that organic search results are no longer visible without scrolling! When you click the name of the business, the listing info box expands and you’re able to scroll down to see the description, hours, photos, its location on a map, and reviews:

Scroll 01
Scroll 02
Scroll 03
(Sorry for all the screenshots, I can’t record the screen on my phone! Here’s a short video where you can see the scrolling in action.)
While the continuous scrolling layout isn’t exactly new, the web results at the bottom are now included in the expanded listing info box and are no longer separated out:

Updated Layout:
Updated Layout
Previous Layout:

Previous Layout

The web results are slightly different too; the results in the new layout echo Pigeon’s preference toward local review sites and directories, while the results from the old layout include a wider variety of sites (including a YouTube snippet and a local newspaper’s review of the haunted attraction). I had to use Chrome’s incognito mode to get the old layout back, so it’s possible that this difference is just related to personalization.
These new info boxes pop up when you click on local results for non-branded queries, too. When you click on a local result for a non-branded query, Google runs a branded search and returns the listing info box as the top result (much like clicking a carousel result on desktop). You can scroll down from there to see organic results for whatever listing you clicked.

Previously, the results opened up a popup when clicked. Users had to back out of the popup to see organic results for their original non-branded search.

This new layout for local mobile results seems to be an attempt to better integrate localized organic results with a local pack. What do you think—is this a step forward or a step backward for the mobile UX of local search results?

This article was originally published by SEER Interactive

Published: November 5, 2014

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