A big change rolled out today in Google search results that trims local “map pack” results from 7 listings to now only 3. Along with fewer map pack listings, the update brings some minor design updates to the map pack and moves the actual Google Map from the sidebar to the main search results area. Our SEO team noticed that Google had been testing this as far back as March of this year. Now, the update appears to have been fully rolled out in US searches (though we cannot yet confirm the update is yet global.)
New Map Pack Results Post Google Update
Old Map Pack Results
The new “3 map pack” closely resembles mobile search results, which may be an intentional effort by Google to unify the way searches with local intent are presented across different screen types.
How Will The New Map Pack Affect Your Business?
If your business already has a strong local presence in Google, you may see a benefit from the update in the form of more click-throughs and phone calls. However, if your business traditionally hovered between positions 4-7 in the map pack, then you may lose a lot of impressions with the new changes.
The Importance of Local SEO
This new map pack update enforces the need for local businesses to have an SEO strategy that can pivot quickly. As map pack rankings become more competitive, so does local SEO, so it is of utmost importance that businesses are taking advantage of Google Business, local citation building, and review generation.