Local SEO is always evolving because Google constantly changes how business information is displayed for searchers to view and how businesses can advertise. There have been three changes regarding Google’s local pack business information. Before we hop into what these changes are, you might be wondering why Google is constantly making changes. In SearchEngineLand’s blog post, a Google spokesperson makes clear, “We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users. These updates provide people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews, and prices, for searches that have multiple results for a given location.”
What’s a Local Pack?
If you aren’t familiar with what a “Local Pack” is, then think again, because you know what it is. Whenever you search Google for something locally, a map will pop-up in the results with 3 business listings in your area. We used “cell phone repair” as an example search. Here’s the local pack that showed up.
Change #1 – From Local 7 Pack to 3 Pack
Google’s Local Pack consisted of 7 business listings before it was changed to just 3. Yes, it was easier for businesses to earn a spot in the local pack when it had more room. With only three spots available in the updated local pack, competition is fierce among businesses for local SEO. This update might not be seen as the best news for local businesses but it’s a better search experience for people using Google to find what they need. On the other hand, perhaps this update can be seen as better for the three businesses that get listed. With fewer options for searchers to choose from, businesses in the Local 3 Pack should get more calls and clientele.
Change #2 – Allowing Businesses to Pay for Local Pack Advertising
Google has accomplished two things with changing the Local 7 Pack into the new Local 3 Pack. People using the search engine can find what they are looking for more easily than before. Also, demand has increased to be listed in the 3 slots which means now these businesses can pay to advertise their brand above the competition. In the picture above, when you click on the option “More Places” several more business listings will appear, ready to scroll through.
Notice that “iFix and Restore” and “Boynton Beach Cell Phone Repair Center” were listed as the top two results in the Local 3 Pack but when you click more places, these first two options are below two paid advertisements for phone repair.
Change #3 – Showing a Website Snippet
The last change is the most recent but doesn’t seem as impactful as the first two. When searching for “cell phone repair” in Google on our mobile device, a few of the listings give a website snippet if it contains similar wording in the website as your search. This can be helpful for people who are seeking more information about the product or service they’re inquiring about. Again, this new feature doesn’t seem to make a huge difference for businesses listed in the Local Pack but might just be more beneficial for searchers.