Google tweaks iPad offering to focus on local search

Tablets have become a consumer fascination of late, with everyone from parents to children and professors to CEOs using them. More important than the prevalence of tablets for businesses engaged in local search marketing is the evolving relationship between tablets and mobile searches, which often carries a local intent. That notion was further reinforced when Google recently announced it had updated how it displays searches on the iPad, a move that puts local results front and center depending on what the user searches.

Now, when users type in a search term that can be applicable to local search like "pizza restaurants" or "plumbers" on an iPad through Google, the search engine will display a prominent selection bar of local results for pizza or plumbers just beneath the divider between the different search options - web, image, news - and where the results are listed. Users can swipe the bar to discover more results as well as use an option that would use a precise location to pinpoint the best local matches for the search.

The results give a large thumbnail picture to identify them, a name and a location, as well as a number of reviews that a user can read. If users click on a result, the page is then expands to show the result in relation to where it would appear on a map and a snippet from an official review, like those from Zagat.

The update to Google's offering further entrenches the company's priority of local search, as this particular move is just the latest effort to gear search results to be more localized and personalized to offer a greater value in service. It also makes it that much more important for local businesses to get on top of their SEO game if they want to get high-level exposure with the new Google update.

As of now, the service is only available for English-speaking searchers.

"iPad will see a new, interactive experience when they search for restaurants, bars or other local places on Google," the tech giant announced in a Google Plus blog post. "In addition to the regular web results, a horizontal 'carousel' of local results will appear at the top of the page. For example, say you’re located in New York City and you search for 'ramen shops.' On the carousel, you can quickly and easily see a place’s overall review-based score, address and a picture related to the location ... If you really want to find a business in a specific geographic area, click on the 'map' button in the upper right corner to view the same places on a fully interactive map."