I’m tempted to think that this is down to someone putting all their eggs in one basket, but it’s a very sad tale nevertheless.
You’ll have seen for some searches – predominantly ones involving a town name and a service – that Google Local listings have changed recently. Google used to display three local results with a link to more, but their research told them that people weren’t sure what those results were.
When Google changed the display to showing ten local results recently, and significantly changed the way they ‘counted’ local results, some people took a hit. And when your business model relies on more than 90% of your custom coming from Google searches, then things can turn very sour, very quickly.