No More “7 Pack” in Local SERP
Google made big changes starting Thursday night and Friday morning, and your local search expreience won’t be the same.
Here’s a short video detailing some of what’s been moved around on Desktop Google Local Search:
And here’s what the new Google Local Search looks like on Mobile:
If you’ve been searching local results today, and you’re mildly observant, you have seen some pretty big changes to how things are shown to you. Depending on your perspective, it could be good or bad.
The earliest reports of this algorithm change showed up Friday morning, and have proven consistent through the weekend. It appears to be a continuation of the Google Plus downgrade process.
Gone is the familiar “7 Pack”, which is the list of 7 local businesses that Google sees as most relevant to your search query. In its place is what some are calling the “Snack Pack”, which is apt, for reasons that will become very evident.
We’ve all heard about what amounts to the demotion of Google Plus (and tantamount admission of failure) by Google brass, along with the requisite “unpairing” of the failed social media flagship with Google’s powerhouse YouTube. What’s most surprising, though is the removal of local information from the new “3 Pack”.
While they claim “We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users. This update provides people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews and prices, for searches that have multiple results for a given location”, this rings hollow on several counts:
- No Local phone number on local search results
- No Address on local search results
- Fewer Local search results
- No “card” popout to the right listing more detailed info about the business
- Forcing users to click through to the map listings to get more info, only t find that there is no phone and address info here, either
How is this a more relevant search experience?
One interesting outcome of this is that it places more emphasis on the organic website listings that appear below the map listings. Considering that there is no phone and address info (generally speaking; it’s a new algorithm rollout, give it time to normalize), and Google seems to be pushing everyone to click through to the individual company websites, it really does put a lot more pressure on the local business owner to make sure that their own contact info is solid and accessible.
Here’s some industry reaction and elucidating (nice word, right?):
Effect on the Search Wars between Google, Yahoo and Bing
This throws the door open for Yahoo and Bing, in my opinion. They don’t have to have a better search experience, they just need to convince enough people that they do, and that will rob users from Google. Having Address and Phone readily available might be just enough to make a dent, however small.