Google has changed the way they display results for locally-related queries. They now show about seven local results for a query along with a rating of each site before you ever see the organic results at the bottom of the page. The page now has a total of thirteen listings, but only six of those are organic results. This will probably tank traffic for webistes that rely on their organic listings to drive most of their local traffic. Notice in the screenshot below that 60% of the height of the listings is now taken by the local listings. This is a major shift for Google. Why are they doing this? It’s Christmas shopping time and people are going to be looking to Google to help them find things locally. This just reinforces my previous post about local search optimization and my article on local search in the KC Small Business Magazine.