The shift to social (Google+) has been indicative of a more democratized local algorithm. Further evidence is Google Map Maker being increasingly relied on as the back-end for Google+ Local. Looking ahead, the Google Local Business Center used for edits/updates/reporting will likely be wholly integrated into Google+ Local with Map Maker serving as the back-end “mapper-driven” verification tool.
We've just put out a 2012/2013 Google+ Local SEO Guide which points out a few things SMB Marketers should be aware regarding some updates to Google+ Local, including some tips to improve visibility in local search.
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