Google has rolled out a redesign of its Local Pack, traditionally called the Local 7-Pack for its letter A – G rankings. The new search results page design shows just three listings and no direct link to a Google+ page.
Search engine ranking reports and impressions from Google are likely to decline for the four unlucky websites that no longer enjoy first page placement for their prized keywords. But are those four law firms really unlucky?
While the concept of losing your first page placement may sound scary at first, there is one more feature on the new, consolidated local listing pack that may be a positive change. Google has introduced a larger defined “More” menu.
This new link replaces the easy to ignore “Map results for...” text with a bigger, more defined “More” link and a menu icon. Clicking on the link takes you to a list of 20 local results that are separate from the original search results page. Will people click More? Probably.
At first, this looks like a serious blow to lower ranking local websites, but it will probably prove to be worse for lower natural listings. Google is essentially drawing your attention to service providers, then giving you a way to find more of them without scrolling below the map listings. This gives you the opportunity to explore local businesses without looking at any highly-ranked organic listings, which typically include sites like Yelp, Yellowpages and a variety of local directories. This means that impressions and rankings for your website may appear down but you may actually see an increase in clicks from traffic that would have otherwise gone to a directory like Yelp.
This change comes on the heals of Yelp's report accusing Google of having a local bias.
Now the question remains: Will consumers trust Google's “More” option or keep scrolling?