It’s not just talk anymore. You’ve probably been experiencing it. Your Google search results coming back more and more local.
So, Google’s talking about what they’re doing. If you specify the location in your search, let’s say “pizza in Chicago, IL”, you’ll get back that. The top of your search results will be a list of Google Places, including local business information, Website, ratings and more. Yes, ratings. They’re replacing on their own after Yelp decided they no longer wanted to be included in Google search results (still have no idea why).
But how are they prioritizing this list of search returns. Google claims “relevance, prominence and distance.” Relevance would mean showing you pizzerias and not dry cleaners. Prominence would mean prioritizing the “best” places based on Google places reviews and likely, site authority. And distance is obvious.
The wildcard here? Your Google Hotpot ratings. As you rate more and more businesses, your search results will be customized based on how your opinions rate with other users. We’ll see how that works out.