Google said today that the reason itâ€™s showing more links is because usability testing revealed that many people didnâ€™t realize there was additional local content available beyond the three listings, despite the â€œmore results . . .â€ prompt. Accordingly, Google said that with the 10 links it is hoping to signal people that there is much more local content a click away.
The ranking of those ten results is based on a range of factors, including the query, proximity, availability of ratings/reviews and their quality and several other variables.
Google also said that it wouldnâ€™t always show 10 results; it might still show three sometimes or one if the query is very specific.
I read “people didnâ€™t realize there was additional local content available beyond the three listings” to mean that Google is striving for more Maps traffic in their competitive maps battle. It will be interesting to look at the Hitwise data to see if there is a similar increase to last year when the Local OneBox was upgraded.