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To start with, “Google Mapmaker” has been revamped to become the database that rules them all. Prior to this update, all the different Google services (Map Maker, Maps, Google+, and the Dashboard) all ran different databases and were required to sync up regularly via bots. This led to plenty of data and technical issues in the past. Now that Google has just merged all of these databases into one and all of that data is now held within Google Mapmaker this may significantly clean up a lot of issues. Most of the changes that have taken place are behind the scenes as mentioned by Mike Blumenthal in his blog.

Some of the changes, like no more authorship photos in the Local Pack, are just for the look of things. However, the reversion to pure Maps Local Pack listings and ranking via the Maps algorithm takes away the huge advantage big brands with powerful websites had in getting their locations into the packs. THis helps to achieve better balance between big brands and small business which in our opinion is always welcomed.

It shouldn’t be impacting the rankings too much. As an SEO company, we have to satisfy both the Maps and Organic algorithms which sometimes result in getting the same site listed in both the organic and the Local pack results. Here is an example for the term “vein treatment san jose”.