On Thursday, August 6th, Google My Business started rolling out a new update that’ll have big impacts for local SEO. In one of the biggest changes in Google’s local ecosystem since the Pigeon update last year, Google has reduced the 7 local listings shown during a search query down to just 3. Here is what you need to know about the update and what to keep in mind when refining your local SEO program.

Google Refines Search for Best Results

7 Google My Business Snack Pack Reduced to 3 Pack

Several sources noticed on August 7, that the usual 7 listings that show up for local search queries have been reduced to only 3 listings.  That’s not all: along with the new “snack-pack,” Google has made some other changes as well.

How Addresses are Affected

Another major change is that Google My Business has removed specific address of all locations in local listings, and is now only showing street names. This does remove some visual clutter on the page, but it also removes valuable location information. Now, of course, this is only in the “snack pack” view. Addresses are still shown in full on each location page. In essence, search users will have to click through to the location page to get the full address, which is likely part of Google’s plan.

blog1

Focus on Your Ratings

If your company relies on star ratings to gain more business, ratings have become even more crucial with this new update. Google has now added an option for searchers to filter their results by your location’s star rating. For example, if you are searching for a restaurant, you can decide if you want to only be shown results with a 2 star or higher, 3 star or higher, or 4 star or higher rating.

Prioritizing Mobile

People are using mobile to do local searches more and more every day. It’s likely no mistake that this snack pack update has also made the listings fit perfectly onto almost any mobile screen. Most, if not all, of the screen real estate is taken up by the 3 pack, which is clean and easy to read. Mobile users will see the store name, number of reviews, main store category, street name, and store hours.

In addition, on the left, they’ll see a “Call Now” button. Users who wish to call can choose to click to call, or click the listing itself and be directed to the “mobile card” which shows all of the general local information.

blog2

This local pack update will, without a doubt, be affecting local search results and also your local search monthly data in a big way. The top 3 locations in every pack will be more competitive now than ever before. Make sure you are always aware of your competition and actively managing all of your locations with BFO!

For more search tactics to boost business, check out our ebook!

2016-Marketers-Managing-Maximizing-SEO-Success


Also published on Medium.