Google rolled out an algorithm update yesterday that effects local searches. This new update effects local search rankings rather than targeting spam. There is no information yet about the percentage of search queries it effects but based on our own tests, a significant amount of queries were affected by this algorithm change.
This algorithm change also effects results on Google Maps. According to Google the new local algorithm has “deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more.”
So far, only US English results have been affected but I’m sure we will find out more about this update in days to come.