Google At It Again: Local Map Pack Changes

August 10, 2015 by BizTraffic Team

As we all know, the search engine landscape is constantly shifting and adapting, particularly in the world of Google. Panda, Penguin, Pigeon…what’s next? While things might get confusing fast, we’re here to help. This week the highlight of things you need to know is relating to Local SEO.

Google, who is in constant pursuit of change and improvement, has been continuously testing out new ways to display local businesses in the search results, with varying degrees of success. The latest update in the past week has shifted the local map pack results considerably. No longer will people see seven local results on the page, instead they will get three as the maximum.

What is a map pack?

Typical_search_results_page

A local map pack is the result you get on google when searching for local businesses. This has become increasingly important in the era of geotargeted and mobile search queries, as everyone wants to get search results of local businesses nearest to their location. Herein lies the power of local optimization: making sure your local business shows up for when users are in the area your business is listed.

For example, if you are in the plumbing business, while located in Dallas, you definitely want to show up in local listings when people use the search query: “plumbing in Dallas”.

What has changed?

Before last week, the local map pack presented various options for customers to be able to find and contact the businesses closest to them. Among these various map pack presentations was the “7 pack”, which showed 7 local results nearest you. This is no more. As mentioned by Mike Blumental, since last week, these have been removed and replaced by the newest map pack, which shows 3 local results at the most.

 

In addition to this, the phone number, and for most the full address have been removed, which forces users to click through on the listings in order to find out more information. New_local_map_pack

 

What this change means for you

In the end, you all want to know what this ultimately means for you and your business:

  • Local optimization will see increased competitiveness, as the ability to rank in the local map pack has been reduced from many occasions from 7 results to 3.

  • While it’s now far more difficult for users to find your google business page, creating one with accurate information is still of *extreme* importance. Google continues to use these pages to pull information from.

  • All phone numbers, as well as some location’s full addresses, have been removed from the local map pack, which means users will have to click through to a listing in order to find this information. The side effect of this might translate to more visibility for your business on the second click, rather than the initial search result.  

  • Fewer local results means more opportunity for paid and organic results to rank within the search results.

    While the 7 pack is no more, it is hard to tell what google has in store for the future. Download our ebook or contact us today for more information about local optimization!

Filed Under: local listings, SEO