Earlier this month we began observing a major shift in the Google Everything local search results (i.e. Hybrid local results). The hybrid local results started appearing last November for most local search queries. During that time, we observed that Google had a brand filter in place, which caused businesses with multiple locations to be limited to a single listing on Google.

However, earlier this week, the pendulum swung back in favor of local businesses. We arrived at this conclusion by observing the following occurrences:

1) Multiple results from the same businesses entity.

2) Rankings are no longer in direct correlation to organic webpage placement.

So what are the new results?  A quick sampling and survey suggests that the hybrid results are the same results as contained in the first page of Google Maps.  However, the actual ranking of the first page of results is different.  The strong bias that the organic-like ranking algorithm had is no longer taking precedence and the traditional Maps search results are shining through once again. This essentially opens the door back up for local businesses and helps them achieve prime organic search results.

At the same time, we are seeing many more 7-pack results and less hybrid results. The differences are illustrated here.

For lack of a better nomenclature, we’ll dub this the Google Local Panda update (or LP) since it follows the recent Google Panda search algorithm update, however it is likely not associated with that update in any way.

Has anyone else observed this update?