Google Now Showing Fewer Local Search Results

After moving away from Google+, the internet’s most popular search engine seems to be changing things up again. The latest change? Fewer local search results in the SERPs.

Recent search query testing by Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz reveals only three local search results instead of the typical seven. The Google Local Pack, sometimes called the “Google 7 Pack,” is already being referred to the Google 3 pack.

As with any new changes Google makes, we have to examine our SEO services and strategies and see how they’ve been affected.

What the New “Google Local Pack” Looks Like

So what is Google local search going to look like now?

Here’s what search results used to look like a few months ago:

Old Google search results from early 2015.

(Source: Search Engine Land)

And here’s what they look like now:

The new "Google 3 Pack," which shows 3 local business listings instead of 7.

Aside from some layout differences, these search results show a lot less information now. Of course fewer businesses means less information, but these online results don’t even show phone numbers. You have to click the business to enter the Google Local Finder to see a business’s phone number or its reviews. And considering Google’s other recent changes, it’s not surprising to see businesses’ Google+ pages missing from the search results.

Google changes are rarely received well at first, but these most recent have garnered critique from some prominent voices in the industry. Mike Blumenthal, an expert in Google Local, has shared his thoughts, which show how these changes could create challenges for small local businesses.

What This Means for Local Businesses

With fewer local search results comes less chance of visibility for your business. If you used to show up in positions 4-7 of the Seven Pack, you’re probably not very pleased with the latest changes. Small businesses like yours have always had to work hard for customers’ attentions, and now you’ll have to work harder than ever before.

As Google refines their local search services, you might feel like your efforts are futile. How can you get to the top spots?

Don’t fret—you have a solution.

PPC management may become more of a priority for your business in the days to come. Focusing on AdWords may give you the edge you need to get into the coveted “Google 3 Pack.” You and your team may have to work hard and shift things around to get there, but take heart. Having the right strategy in place can make a difference.

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