Since Friday of last week, we noticed Google consistently generating more Local business listings and dedicating more space to Local findings within the organic search results. Where in previous results a smaller map and 3 business listings popped up with addresses and phone numbers, now you see a larger map with 10 business listings along with the website addresses and phone numbers. The new format takes up much more space, pushing the natural listings below the fold.
In the past, a web search with the addition of a Canadian city name would rarely yield Google Local results. However, now Google is recognizing major cities in Canada and displaying the corresponding Local results. See below a search result for "Toronto flower shop", as an example.
Oddly enough, when conducting a search for "Regina flower shop", Google Local results for Regina, Saskatchewan, came up in forth position. However a search for "flower shop Regina" shot the Local listing to the top. (see below)
Google identifies your location by the IP address provided by your ISP, then matches Google Local results based on your search query. For instance, if you added the keyword "Toronto" to your search phrase and were physically located in, or close to, Toronto, Ontario, you would not see results for Toronto, Ohio.
Despite the progress, Google still needs to iron out a few wrinkles. I was surprised to see that in some searches, a city name entered after the keyphrase did not generate the expected Local listings.
It's important to note that the proximity of a business to the center of a city does not necessarily determine its positioning within the search results, but it helps. The listings are still ranked by the relevance, categories, reviews, and other business details one would enter. That's something Google hasn't seemed to have changed, yet.
To add or update your listing visit the Google Local Business Center.