Google Confirms Panda 3.3 Update & Local Search Rankings Changes
Google has confirmed in the Search quality highlights: 40 changes for February a Panda 3.3 Update on February 27th 2012. This Panda update is a data refresh like the January 18, 2012 Panda 3.2 Update.
More interesting os the comments on Link evaluation and local search rankings:
Here is says that Google has turned off a "method of link analysis" that helps figure out the topic of a linked page. I'm wondering is this to counter an "anchor text relevance exploit" that alllows unscrupulous people to attack sites with irrelevant links.
Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.
Suspicious looking domain links appearing in Webmaster Tools - Webmaster Central Help
This is straight forward. Sites that have have organic ranks will rank higher on local search.
Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.
Search Engine Land has a nice article on this here