I noticed this new postcode search box while on Google today…
Over the last month or so, we know that Google has been attempting to refine their local search, to try and make it so that if you search for something generic, like hairdressers or restaurant, they will return related local sites or ads. This meant that towards the top of the page you would usually get a Google map with the local vendors like below. (The pushpins are looking unusually 3d to me today, do you think?)
This new method means that you get more generic results, and if you WANT local results, then you can have them by entering your city or postcode.
I think this is an excellent improvement (though obviously not permanent, as I can’t find it again), because:
1. It lets you tell Google if you are wanting local rather than generic results – rather than Google just guessing.
2. It lets you tell Google the location, rather than them guessing from your IP address – which is particularly useful if you are searching for something for a friend, somewhere you want to go, etc.
3. It gets rid of that annoying big map picture, which you might not be interested in.
I have seen the new post code search on .com and .co.uk but not yet on .com.au, which was still showing the local business results.
If Google rolls this out as a normal service, businesses can expect to be able to increase their visibility to searchers who are actually looking in their area, but not necessarily for generic searches.