Google’s new change has changed the way we see search results from now on. The famous 7 pack which used to bring up 7 search results on a specific topic is now a thing in the past, the change started on Thursday 6th August and people noticed the change to the 3 pack which is a shock to local SEO experts. In the space of 24 hours the way we see things had completely changed and unusually Google expanded this new change across every country so this change affects everyone.
What is the 7 pack to 3 pack change?
When you search for things local to your area e.g. restaurants in Liverpool, Google used to produce 7 listings of local restaurants in Liverpool. Now Google only produce the top 3 local listings for restaurants in Liverpool. So it is important for businesses and companies to be on the google map and to make sure they can be seen locally. See below what the 3 pack looks like.
Mobiles and desktops united?
Google has now made Mobiles even more like a smaller sized desktop, now results for searches are completely the same layout whether you are using a desktop or mobile you will still see the same results. Desktop users will be seeing the same results mobile users have been seeing for some time. An area where the change has largely affected is the way people search for results locally, and Google are trying to match the user experience regardless what device you are using.
Did people ever use the 7 pack results?
Google will always do thorough tests to make sure the changes they make will not be a failure, many SEO experts predicted that Google would make the jump from the 7 pack to the 3 pack. Now this is a reality and this has a lot of influence on local businesses who have competitors, so they will need to actively try and make sure there company is in the top 3 search results. How many people were visiting the sites listed in positions 4-7? For a change this big it is highly likely that companies in those positions weren’t getting as much traffic as the companies in the top 3 positions. A reason for this change could be that someone using a mobile device would only see the top 3 search results until they scrolled down so in theory results positioned 4-7 were invisible.
Other changes Google have made?
When you make search results for a specific topic Google have removed exact addresses and only showing street names, this is an upside for companies who aren’t in the top 3 as this can persuade users to look in more detail and companies have more chance of users accessing there website. The downside for mobile users is even if you want to click for more detail the 3 pack will be the only results that will come up and you will have to go in depth to see the individual companies. Another change Google have made is you can search for a business/company with ratings so for example if you wanted to find a restaurant with a minimum rating of 3 stars, restaurants with 3 stars and above will come up in the search results.
What does this mean for the new user experience?
Opinions have been divided over the change from 7 packs to 3 packs, some people think it is great for user experience whilst others think it is bad for business. Marketers have concerns how they are going to interact with the changes, with most things requiring a user to click on for a listing page. Google have specifically made 3 packs to be driven on user experience many people think these ideas are here to stay unless Google changes it dramatically for mobile users.
The top 3?
There are businesses and companies who have retained there spot in the top 3 search results following the 3 pack change. However they still need to be concerned, local SEO experts believe companies will be more aggressive because they are vying for 3 positions where in the past they were battling for 7 positions. Some companies may become complacent with their rankings on Google because they are at the top of the search results. Companies will need to keep up their efforts with SEO because other companies will be trying even harder to force their way into the top 3.