In an updated Google Maps Help thread, Joel H. from Google said Google has dropped most of the local results in the Google web search pages for SEO and Web Design related queries. Yes, you heard me right - Google has decided to intentionally not show a local pack for queries that are related to SEO or web design and include a local qualifier. Example searches include [web design 10010], [web design suffern], [seo 90210], [new york seo companies] and so on.
Yesterday, Joel from Google said:
Earlier thread, Brian (BB- baseonballs) [a Googler, btw] noted that this may be related to a known issue regarding the display of local search results on google.com. After further investigation, they are slightly different, and I'll explain our intent.
Today, we're intentionally showing less local results for web design / SEO queries. For example, [web design sacramento] doesn't display local listings today. We believe this is an accurate representation of user intent. In some cases, we do show local listings, however (as NSNA/php-er noted) [web design in bellingham]. I'm sure some of you feel we should be displaying local results for queries like [Web Design Vancouver]. I understand that concern, but based on our understanding of our users, we feel this is the right decision for now.
I'll give the usual disclaimer that we're constantly working on improving the user experience and results will vary over time. So, this could change in the future, but I wanted to be explicit about what we're doing today.
Yea, Joel said that. Of course, the logical thoughts by SEOs on this matter is that Google really does hate SEOs. This may be the last Google vs. SEOs controversy of 2009.
Forum discussion at Google Maps Help.