If you’ve done a Google search for a local business recently, you’ve likely noticed that something’s different. In recent weeks, Google has made an update to its Google Local search results and has rolled out the new 3 Pack, which the search industry is now calling the “Snack Pack”. Whereas Google Local Search results used to the list the top 7 ranking results for your local search – the 7 Pack – the world’s most important search engine has now narrowed it down to just the top 3. Not quite sure what we’re talking about? As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s the before and after:
So what does Google’s local search update mean for your business?
Well, first off, if your local business wasn’t already showing in the 7-Pack, you’ll have to work much harder to get it to show in the Snack Pack. And if your business was showing as result 4, 5, 6, or 7 – then it’s back to work to try and crack the Top 3. With this change, brands now have fewer chances to come up in local search, reducing their visibility. Brands – it’s time to step up your local seo game!
What else has Google changed?
Google + Link Removed
As Google’s social network is currently in transition, it’s not surprising that Google + links have been removed entirely from local search results. Currently, non-verified listings are still showing up in search, but it’s unclear if this will always be the case, as Google has recently stated that they will be deleting all non-verified pages.
Addresses and Phone Numbers Removed
Surprisingly, Google has removed all phone numbers and exact addresses from the “Snack Pack”, now only the street name is listed. If you want more information, you’ll have to click on the business. Once you do, you’ll be redirected to a page with all the listings and a map.
New Ratings Feature
Though not very noticeable at the moment, the 3-Pack features a “Ratings” feature at the top, on the left. With this feature, searchers can choose to see results only above a certain star rating. For example, if a user chooses to only view nearby pizzerias with a 4+ rating, pizzerias with a rating of 3.9 or less will be completely left off the radar. It’s important for local business to be mindful of this ratings system; if this feature becomes more important, it’s likely that businesses with lower ratings won’t get any visibility. Why search for a 2 star burger joint when there are plenty of 4 star restaurants in your vicinity?! As such, it will be very important for business to ensure that their business rating is 4 stars or higher.
Other New Features
Depending on the business category you’re searching for, other features that some users have come across include business hours and price range, as well as Zagat ratings for restaurants. Notably, on mobile, the “click to call” option is still available.
With local search results being cut in half and the addition of the Ratings feature, it is now more important than ever for businesses to rank higher than the competition in local results. Local SEO includes ensuring that your address information is uniform across all online directories, as well as including optimised descriptions in every listing. Contact our digital marketing agency to find out more about how our local SEO services can help your business.