At the beginning of August, Google began rolling out an update that rocked the local SEO world.

In an effort to streamline their search results page and shift to a more mobile style layout, Google has completely redesigned the local map pack. What used to contain 7 local results for a given search:

Now only shows the top 3 results and much less information, it’s being called the Snack Pack:

Some things to note about the new Snack Pack:

  • Phone numbers and addresses are no longer displayed directly in the SERPs.
  • There is no link to the Google+/Google My Business Page.
  • Company ratings are one of the few features included on the main SERP, making them more important than ever.
  • It appears that the algorithm didn’t change, just how the results are displayed.
  • If you were in the top 3 before you are still in the top 3 now.

The Snack Pack results also seem to vary depending on the search query. As seen above when searching for local attorneys you have the option to click through on the listing as well as be directed to the website or google maps for directions.

Alternatively, a search for a local restaurant does not link you directly to the website or provide a link to directions.

However, in restaurant and hotel queries Google does give you the option to filter your search results within the map pack itself:

When you click through one of these top three listings you are taken to an expanded results page. This provides a more expanded look at the local business you are searching for. Here you can finally see the address, phone number, photos, hours of operation and an expanded section for reviews.

The left side of the page contains a much larger list of local search results. While this is good for businesses who haven’t landed in the top three results, there’s one major problem:

When a potential customer clicks on your listing, they are also presented with a list of all of your competitors and their reviews and ratings.

If you’re a local business dependent on local search traffic here’s what you should know:

Now that the map pack results have been drastically reduced, organic search results and Adwords will take on increasing importance. Increase your SEO efforts and even if you can’t land your business in the top 3 local results, you can still increase your organic ranking.

While there is no direct link to the Google My Business page it appears that Google is pulling photos, hours, reviews and website URL from these pages. Make sure your Google My Business page is up to date with all of the correct information and attention catching photos.

Work on your reviews and ratings. Searchers now have an easy visual way to sort local businesses based on those little orange stars. If your competitors all have 4 and 5 starts and tons of great reviews while you have none, which does not bode well for your business. Consumers rely on reviews to assess the quality of businesses more than ever so work on building your customer loyalty and encourage your patrons to leave reviews on Google.


Get in Touch


"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.