Google Local Search Update Goes Global
Google is apparently rolling out a new set of local search results (a new alogirithm essentially) outside the U.S. with Map results in the UK, Canada and Australia in a state of flux this morning.
The search engine introduced updates to the local search results in mid-August (2014) in the U.S. and it seems the same type of features/improvements are now visible in more locations around the world.
Some of the major updates include a tightened map radius for local searches, but more importantly, changes in the way search results are ordered. SEO's are noticing (as they did in the U.S.) a reduction in the number of listings appearing in the local pack (from 7 to 3). The result of this more limited digital real estate, of course, is greater competition. SEO's would be wise to accelerate their local link acquisition and general domain authority if they notice any decrease in local-focused traffic.