In this week’s video, I share the details about Google’s widespread test that’s showing 2-packs in mobile search results (instead of the 3-pack we’ve had for 6+ years). Google runs tests constantly, so we’re not sure this will be a permanent change, but it’s showing up in most locations, so who knows? Watch the video for insight into what this means for Local SEO…
Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. It’s just a few days after Easter, and this week I’ve got some sweet news for you
OK, ok, so maybe I pushed that candy pun a bit too hard, but I do actually have some breaking news to share with you today. The local map pack might be changing again. Years ago, we had a local pack with 7 results… and then we had the local carousel, and then the local pack changed to just 3 results back in 2014, and it’s been 3 results ever since (although now there’s a fourth spot for an ad)
Just last week, lots of people started seeing local packs with only 2 results on mobile search results. Once Joy Hawkins pointed it out, tons of other Local SEOs reported that they were seeing 2-packs as well. Claire Carlile even saw them in the UK, so this isn’t just happening in the US.
Testing it here in Dallas – I’m filming this on Friday, April 2nd – I’m still seeing 3-packs for most queries, but a few queries are starting to show 2-packs like this one.
Clearly, this is a large scale test. Google runs tests all the time, and they don’t always end up becoming permanent changes. No one knows if this change will stick, or if it’s just a temporary test.
If this becomes a permanent change, it’s got a few pretty big implications. First of all, whoever currently shows up as the number 3 result in the pack is going to lose some visibility. But also, the two businesses who remain in the 2-pack are going to see a bit of a boost, since there’s one less competitor showing in the pack.
This will benefit the number one organic spot as well – since the map pack will take up less real estate on the screen, that number one organic spot will be “higher” in the search results, which could potentially mean more traffic.
It’s also going to benefit anyone who’s buying an ad in the pack. Now that ad is one of three results instead of one of four.
There’s nothing to worry about now, since we have no idea if this is a change that will roll out permanently. But, if this does become a permanent change, a solid Local SEO strategy will be more important than ever before.
That’s all the time we’ve got left for today, so you know what that means.
Put your hand on the screen right here:
We totally just high-fived ‘cause you learned something awesome.
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.