Last night, I was tipped off by Matt Schexnayder of Sparefoot of a new local pack test where Google is showing when the query matches content on the local businesses website. It is called “website mentions” and just like Google will highlight the content in the snippets that match the query in the organic results, Google is doing something similar in the local pack now. Or at least testing it.
Here is a screen shot from Matt, you can click on it to enlarge it:
Of course, this is not just an interesting user interface test but it also shows me that Google Local, which is separate from the organic ranking algorithms, does understand the content on the webpages of the local business. I always thought the content on the website of the local business was not a factor for local rankings. But here, Google is showing content on the local business website that matches the query searched for.
So if Google knows the content on the local business listing’s website and can use it to make the local results more relevant, why wouldn’t they? Here is what Google published on how they rank local results in Google Maps and local packs. It has no mention of site content.
I did email Google for more details about this but have not yet heard back.
Forum discussion at Twitter.