This just in: Google is realigning its local search results to make room for streamlined local business suggestions.
Google has reportedly been trying different layouts for local searches in line with its Material Design, but that is not what’s causing the buzz. Searches involving the hospitality, food, and entertainment sectors have started showing 3-pack results, not the number that has been the standard since Google’s local search algorithm favored “7-Pack” SERPs for geo-based searches.
The trimmed down list gave way to the Local Finder, which features 20 results per page. The Local Finder is reminiscent of the old Map results, but with better business listing functionalities. Worth noting is the absence of Google+ links on the search results in some areas.
While the changes are not exclusive to the food, entertainment, and hospitality sectors (and the 3-pack can currently be observed in select industries), it is yet to be standardized. Several searchers outside the US have reported seeing the same changes for companies in the insurance industry, while others report still seeing the 7-pack listing.
How does this affect you?
The biggest impact any business owner would think about is the limited visibility. After all, a list that once showcased seven recommendations had to eliminate four entries, delegating them instead to another page. But what does this mean for your rankings?
While Google has not released information about this update, the results depend on several ranking signals, including proximity. This is an aspect your company need not worry about, as the listing still appears on Google’s Local Finder. With a little push, a listing here will have greater influence on rankings than appearance on the 3-pack will.
Google is making adjustments presumably to push forward Local Finder and Snak Pak, which was released in July. Trust that while they are doing so, we are doing the same.
As we wait for more information on the update, we are looking into possible changes in organic SERP rankings as well. In the meantime, we are working on checking your business information to make sure each relevant area is filled out properly. It’s not confirmed whether the removal of Google+ links will be permanent, but the safe bet is to keep it in for now.
The one thing evident in Google’s 7-pack update is that it focuses on providing information at a glance. Aside from giving directions to the location and a link to the business site, the Local Finder also displays opening hours. Update your business information to reflect more accurate business hours, if applicable.
As part of our efforts to avoid any negative changes, we aim to catch misspellings and errors in location-based details to keep your business in the relevant searches.
Google’s latest update rollout may also trigger changes in AdWords, which has already received a major revamp earlier this year. Our team of experts will offer recommendations to keep clients above the fold. Sign up or just Login to your SEOReseller Dashboard to get in touch with our team. Meanwhile, check back for more updates as they happen.