Until recently, business owners have been kept in the dark on how their site ranks within Google's map results, or "map pack". So if users are adding their location to the front of their search query, like "New Berlin Pizza", finding your ranking for searches like that were problematic because they've been considered map listings rather than organic listings. Tracking your rankings for localized results is in the dark no more.
The Change to Google's Localized Search Results
Google recently made a significant update to how they display local search results and named it Place Search. The main takeaways with this update is that for queries that are location-based there is now a more integrated blend between organic results and what used to be called 'Map Pack' results. The evidence can be most strikingly seen with the movement of the map from the main search result page over to the right column, above the paid ad. In addition, the map scrolls with you, covering up the paid ads as you scroll down. Below are a couple of examples of how Google is now displaying these results. The first one is a search for 'New Berlin Pizza'. The second example is a search for 'New Berlin Dentist'. It is important to note the major difference between these two, the second example shows a much more integrated result. The results look and feel almost like they are traditional organic search results.
Positive Side Effect: Tracking
For a long time it has been extremely difficult to track your position in the old 'Map Pack'. It is not such a big issue if you have a handful of retail outlets, but for a firm or a business with 20, 50, 100's, or 1,000's of locations to monitor it was next to impossible. Now we can begin monitoring the rankings of the local results.
Here at Top Floor Technologies, we provide B2B internet marketing to a variety a different businesses. As such we have a lot of tools at our disposal. We have noticed that not all of the keyword tracking tools will currently pick up on this, but there is one that currently does. It is the Rank Checker Add-on for Firefox from the SEO Book, you can find it here.
The Fine Print
There is one important caveat to make, however; as I mentioned above about the various layouts Google displays, this monitoring is only possible on the second result - the one that is more integrated. Not all listings are currently displayed like that and who knows if the ones that are will stay that way or change. In the meantime I suggest if you need to track the position data to do so while you can.