Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 126.96.36.199
This is a significant and dramatic expansion of the Google Onebox and the importance of Google maps. The onebox now dominates the first page real estate for a much larger percentage of queries.
All of this makes ranking w/in Google Maps more important, expands the terms and language for aranking within Google Maps, and simultaneously makes advertising directly with Google far more important.
I think it further reduces the importance of verticals and IYP to the extent they depend on traffic off of high Google serps rankings.
Definitely something to check. Its a big move by Google.
They've been testing quite a lot of new layouts recently, as noted in this other thread:
If the local onebox content/layout you mention is part of the UI testing underway, I wonder how much of those changes will stick permanently?
With the maps inserts visability for my site is jumping around.
What are other webmasters seeing and what is your reaction?
Right now I'm pumping some money into ppc.