Saturday I blogged about some major local search layout changes Google was testing and the update started on Tuesday. The changes are still rolling out in some areas and some browsers may still see the old layout. Here’s the image I posted Saturday in case you aren’t seeing the changes yet. NEW LAYOUT.

In a nutshell, the map markers turned from red to gray. But when you mouse over them, the gray pins light up red. Also the location data and pins moved from below the listing to the right side.

But the big change I want to highlight in this post is the rich new preview data Google shows about a business. When you mouse to the right side of each listing there is an arrow. Google used to show a large web site preview. NOW she shows a smaller site preview, a dedicated map of that Places location and up to 4 images from the Place page, plus other Place page data.

So it’s more important than ever to claim and optimize your Place page. REALLY IMPORTANT – Be sure to put your best foot forward with GREAT images that showcase the benefits of your product or service. The 1st 5 images on your Place page show up in your preview. LET’s TAKE A LOOK!

HIGHLIGHT YOUR BUSINESS – STAND OUT FROM THE COMPETITION!

If you are not seeing the update yet, let me explain. As you mouse to the right of each listing a double arrow and the preview screen shows up. So you can scan through all the previews and get a glimpse of what each business has to offer. When you get the update, play with this. It’s VERY COOL and a quick easy way to see which listings are optimized and which need help. 😉

The top preview above shows a listing for a Dentist who has not claimed his Place page. So the preview is pretty bare, showing only his site. Below that is a preview from one of my clients that I added to show the contrast between an unclaimed listing and a well optimized one.

If you were a Mom, looking for a new Dentist, which Dentist would you be more likely to click or call? The bare listing or the one with the beautiful smiling faces and the cute family???

Nice move Google! Not sure I like the new pin color/layout, but LOVE the new previews!