The new algorithm aims to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. This means that they'll be ranked in much the same as normal search results.
For now, the changes will only effect Google Maps and Google Web search results - no news or in-depth article results, no image or video results.
According to Google, the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search. It also takes other signals into account, such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more.
Furthermore, the algorithm is supposed to improve Google's distance and location ranking parameters, which means it gives local businesses such as shops, restaurants, and so on to attract a lot of local customers living nearby.
Right now, the new algorithm is only being tested out for U.S. (English) search results. There hasn't been an update on if, and when Google will roll the update to more countries and languages. But it's gotta be soon, we estimate a few weeks or months at most.
Right now, there has not been an indication of the percent of total queries impacted by this algorithm. Most of the changes are behind the scenes, but some local businesses may suddenly notice an increase or decrease in traffic, leads or conversions.
If you deal in local business, and have seen an increase or decrease in traffic lately, let us know about it in the comments section below! All the best :)