We noticed in search today some instances of Google local results being counted as ‘normal’ results and thus pushing a lot of normally ‘page 1′ sites onto page 2.
See below – the red line shows 7 ‘local’ results for ‘plumbers Sydney’, whereas the blue line shows only 3 ‘normal’ results on page 1.
I could be all conspiracy theory here and suggest that Google is pushing sites to use Google Local, which is now actually Google Plus. In this page, if you want good page 1 real estate you have to either be using Google Places or Google Adwords! The top 3 results of organic listings are way below the fold.