August 2015: Local search results have always been competitive — and Google just upped the competition amongst businesses vying for the same target customers. This month Google decreased the 7-pack search results to a 3-pack of local businesses.
In other words, if you search for “pharmacy in Connecticut” you will now only get three local business results rather than seven different businesses. Undoubtedly, this will have a detrimental impact on the businesses in the fourth lowest spots, resulting in fewer customers, inquiries and sales. Conversely, it can provide a significant boost to the three businesses that remain in the top of the results.
In addition to reducing the number of results that a person receives when they perform a search with local intent, Google also redesigned the 3-pack so that it fit better on a mobile device. Rather than providing searchers with the URL for the business as well as the address and phone number right in the 7-pack, Google now has simplified the results to include the business name, available reviews and the address. Buttons are available for users who want to go to that business’s website or who want to get directions to the storefront.
As with any other Google search result changes and algorithm updates, the SEO community is buzzing. Local businesses, their web developers and SEO experts want to know what they can do in order to land one of those coveted top three positions.
Ultimately, Google attributed the change in the search results to their constant efforts to improve the search experience for the end user. Google believes that this change will bring more relevant information to the consumer who is interested in that type of business, focusing on reviews that are available, photos from the business and service pricing.