With Google’s recent introduction of 10 yellow pages-like listings in Web search results for local queries, it is going to be harder for local search sites which depend on “category in city” search queries (e.g. “Plumbing Supplies in Pleasanton, CA”) for a lot of referral traffic from Google to get that traffic. If I were the SEO person at a yellow pages co or other local search service I might consider spending some more energy focusing on trying to rank for searches for individual business names (e.g. “Valley Plumbing Home Center”).
The Google Maps info inserted in business name search results seem to have fewer pixels to get to the non-Google content in the results. The Google Maps info in business name results are about 189 pixels high. The Google Maps info in business service in city results (the “10pack”) are about 247 pixels high. See the images below:
It has also been my experience that the “service in city” queries tend to result in more ads, particularly at the top of the search results, as these are more easy to target for advertisers. This means even more competition for clicks from these pages.
Now the flipside is that you will need to rank for a whole lot of business names to equal the traffic of one “service in city” query. I guess that’s what makes local search engine optimization fun right?