Google Universal search layout change
Noticed a change of layout on google.com.au for how they are displaying universal (mapping) search results.
Location based searches like this example for “hotel sydney” now show the map result at the top of the right column:
Interestingly when you scroll down the page the map remains in the same position in the browser effectively covering positions 4-10 of the paid (SEM) search results:
This is an improvement over the previous layout for those ranking well organically as more organic results can be seen above the fold when a map appears. Conversely however, I’m not sure how happy advertisers whose ad creative is now covered when you scroll down the page will be. For example, in the second screenshot note the paid ad for Rydges Hotels – www.rydges.com – is now partially covered.