Google has recently made a number of revisions to Google local search results.
In the early August 2015, Google launched the new local search display. I had a great impact on local businesses. The Google updates were not actually a change in SEO for local businesses. Google changed how search engine results page (SERP) is shown.
The Google local search display used to show a variety of local. Moreover, organic results and there has always been seven local results shown, the “7-Pack”, depending on the search inquiry and location. Resulting from this current update, however, there seems to have only three local results, the “Snack Pack“ or the “3-Pack”.
The users have the choice to click for additional results in the search engine results page. This step will only have a negative effect on local businesses that are ranked in positions 4 to 7.
Another notable change is the additional number of ads. Mobile results have this. While it doesn’t particularly apply to any local mobile results, it is certain to affect search visibility of the SEO for local businesses by activating the 3-pack below the fold.
An Overview of Changes to the Google Local Search Results
- The Google local search results in the search engine results page are now showing three listings rather than seven. The number of organic results stays unchanged.
- With the decrease of localized SEO search results from being seven to three, a lot of companies will have to increase the local ad allotted to keep constant traffic.
- Google added a large map to the localized SEO 3-pack, getting a lot of significant space above the fold.
- Mobile and desktop results are now in similar format; results may still be different.
The real search engine research page display differs greatly depending on the type of business.
New Home Services Ads
Google started beta testing the latest local ad format for home service providers during the time of the display of Google updates. This latest ad format is presently limited to handymen, locksmiths, plumbers and housekeepers in the San Francisco Bay area, but likely to extend to other areas in the near future.
The home service ads are not just notably presented on top of the Google local search display. However, it takes the place of the local 3-pack results on this page. It means that specific forms of local businesses may be missing a new great opportunity to display in free local searches.
SEO for Local Businesses
Local businesses will have to invest in a paid advertising to continue their prior level of appearance in Google local search results.
New home service ads might remove the Google local search display pack for certain types of business.
Local businesses previously listed in positions 4–7 will likely see a drop in website traffic.
The Google local search display 3-pack looks very plain, often with no photos. This possibly lowers engagement and reduces clicks to the website.
Ranking in the top three in localized SEO search results is more important than ever.
Overall, these Google updates deal a blow to local businesses. This is particularly for those who have heavily put money into organic search but almost have nothing in paid search.
The new display format will likely reduce phone calls (now that the phone number is hidden in many desktop results). This also reduces traffic to many businesses’ Google local search display listings and websites. Local businesses will likely have to spend more money on ads to receive the same visibility in Google.
The Google updates are interesting progress that can help in keeping potential clients from employing disreputable of unlicensed companies; but if they end up taking the place of map packs. This could greatly affect businesses that have not opted into this ad format.
And the big winner is Google.