Google is now incorporating rich data into it's local search results. The upshot of this is that local directories can, on say a restaurant listing, now include the number of reviews and price range of the establishment and it will be displayed in their search listing. Rich data for reviews, people, addresses, events and recipes are all supported. Have a look at rich data in action below:
It's worth noting that Google's Rich Snippets, and rich data in general, do not change your chances of ranking in any way. Instead, they should be considered as a 'good housekeeping' activity and part of your overall strategy to 'play nice' with Google.
However, in an official blog post on introducing Rich Snippets, Google tells us that Rich Snippets do improve clickthrough, saying "our experiments have shown that users find the new data valuable -- if they see useful and relevant information from the page, they are more likely to click through."
Also of note is that in this latest update, Google urge users to also communicate more about their business that may be of potential use to local search. Here are some ideas for the kind of info Google Places might be able to make use of:
- Awards (e.g. Zagat rated restaurants)
- Celebrity/Famous Staff
- Genre (e.g. italian or chinese food)
- Nearby points of interest