Google’s New Switch to Local 3-Packs

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 10, 2015

No More 7-Pack; the 3-Pack is Here

As of August 6th, Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) no longer includes seven businesses in its search results display. Instead, they now list only three local businesses to create a new snack pack. The changes were made in the US as well as internationally.

Optimizing Your Business’s Listing Is Now a Greater Priority

If you’re one of the top three, this is good news. As a result of the new snack pack, you most likely will now see an increase to the phone calls that will predictably lead to sales. However, if you’re not in the top three, the bad news is that you will undoubtedly see a decline in calls. The three-pack listings has now made getting listed on the one page hugely competitive.

The Snack Pack User Experience

Is User Experience Enhanced? The local results of the number of businesses has been reduced to three, but up to twenty additional local listings can still be seen on the map view with just a simple click or tap. If you’re using a mobile device, you can tap the phone icon to connect to the business with an automatic phone call.

Changes Made With the New 3-Pack Creation

Besides limiting the local listings of businesses to three, Google has changed the listings by:

• Removing Exact Addresses: Only the street name that a business is located on is given on the Google listing. In order to get the exact address of a business, searchers need to either click through the website link or the listing on the map.

Removing Phone Numbers: In order to get the phone number of a business, searchers now must click through the link to the business’s website. The mobile version also doesn’t display the business’s phone number, but it does offer the option to tap the phone icon which will connect you to the business.

Removing Google+ Links: The removing of the Google+ links is a somewhat interesting change since local businesses have been pushed by Google to officially claim their page.

Adding Store Hours: Store hours have been added by Google. Depending on the search time of day, opening and closing times are included.

Replacing “Google Reviews” Label with Just “Reviews” Label: Although the reviews for each business are still included, they are no longer identified as Google Reviews.

Removing Business Card Flyouts: Previously, users were able to simply scroll over a local listing of a business and automatically see the card on the right hand side. This flyout action is now gone, and you now must click through to see the card on a secondary local page.

Disabling all 1-Click to Access Contact Info: When you click on a listing, you now open the new search view of a map including twenty competitors and a new version of the old, business card.

• Removing all the Links to Google My Business pages.

What Will These Changes Mean for Your Business

• The map view will be used by more searchers. Even if your business doesn’t appear on the SERP, there is still a good chance you will be noticed. This is because the searchers can switch to the map view displaying a list of twenty businesses. Once there, they can get the contact information including the businesses’ addresses. Therefore, even if you aren’t one of the top three, you may still be reachable in the map view.

• Searchers Will Choose Organic Results. According to Link-Assistant.com, a big percentage of searchers prefer organic results that are far more trustworthy due to their not including advertising or pay per click. Searchers tend to trust only those sites that are relevant to their search terms. For that reason, businesses may be able to attract organic traffic directly to their websites or to their business pages in directories that are Yelp-like.