Why the Google 3-Pack is a Big Deal

As of last Friday, Google has made more changes to the way it displays local business search results. What used to be known as the “7-pack” is now condensed to the “3-pack” with a “view more” link at the bottom of the local results. Clicking “view more” takes you to what some are calling the Local Finder, which displays 20 local results on the left and a map on the right.

With all the changes Google is constantly making to their algorithm is this such a big deal? Let’s find out.

Why You Should Care About the Google 3-Pack

Google 3-Pack Results Desktop SearchOptimizing for local search is even more important than ever, because the number of featured organic results is smaller. Google is always testing changes to the way it displays its Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and, as a result, the display of local businesses has changed many times over the years. For example, in the past, Google tested the “carousel” (that can currently be seen when searching for movie show times) to display local results. The carousel didn’t get the clicks Google was hoping for, so they changed it to display only when users run a specific type of search.

What The Google 3-Pack Now Displays

  • Website and direction links with big icons to the right of each result
  • The type of location it is (e.g. “Pizza” or “Hardware Store”)
  • The name of the street the location is on
  • Information about the open hours of the business for the current day

Google’s AdWords are still displayed before the 3-Pack as well as to the right of the screen. You might want to consider running ads if your business doesn’t rank in the first three organic results, or if you are in a very competitive market.

Changes Beyond the Google 3-Pack

Google 3-Pack Results Mobile SearchIf you have ever wondered if it is worth the effort to manage your business listings and optimize your website for mobile, Google’s recent changes to their local search results has answered that question with a resounding – yes!

What’s Out

  • Google+ profile links under each business result
  • Phone numbers and addresses on the first page results
  • “Fly-out” (side bar) has moved to the “Local Finder” page

What’s In

  • 2 click process to get to phone numbers and addresses
  • Average rating and total number of reviews is still visible on first page listings
  • Navigation to the “Local Finder” page to find more detailed information

It is more important now than ever for your business to not only show up on the first page of search results, but within the first few results.

What will Google change next? Stay tuned. This will likely continue to evolve over the coming months.

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