Is Google Reducing the Local Search Result Footprint?

I first noticed this yesterday where every search for “storage + city” returned a 3-pack result regardless of the city that was searched (ie storage Toronto, storage Detroit, storage Miami etc etc etc ). This was true even on international searches like storage Paris, Fr.This change apparently occurred about two weeks ago and despite doing a range of searches both logged in and not, the ”storage + city” never returned a Blended Result nor a Pack other than the 3-Pack.

While this search result was strange enough, today at least, many search results that were returning 7 Blended results or the 7-Pack are now returning many fewer pinned results.

So my questions for you:

1)Are any of you in the storage business and how long have you been seeing this 3-pack only result?

2)For all of you, are your local searches now returning fewer pinned results in the main SERPS?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Is Google Reducing the Local Search Result Footprint? by

131 thoughts on “Is Google Reducing the Local Search Result Footprint?”

  1. Mike, thank you for calling attention to this issue. I spent some time looking into the matter and many local search results relating to the real estate industry in San Diego have gone from 7 packs to 4 packs.

  2. Google seems to have lost enough revenue on adwords because of maps. They might have definitely increased their revenues. Another form of increasing the revenue would be to push the maps further down and Goog has already started paid advertising for google places.. so the listings will fight for the top 3 positions and Google will start minting money!!

  3. This just started happening and is effecting all verticals like auto repair (geo modifier) and deep tissue massage Tampa. In my opinion this is google making searcher utilize the tabs: everything, image, video, maps, news, blogs and places.

  4. Hi Mike,
    Several days ago I agreed with the majority after seeing more and more 7-packs convert to 3, 4, 5 and 6 packs but recently started finding 8-packs. In Plamen’s comment a 10 pack is listed. This is making me doubt that the change was caused by Google losing revenue on adwords because of maps.

    Search: PR Firms San Diego CA

  5. I run a driving school in Brighton England and over the years have become obsessed by the 7 pack. To my horror my key search “driving lessons Brighton” now produces a 4-pack. I don’t mind the competition by my well optimized, well reviewed page with plenty of citations (as recommended by Google) has been surpassed by place pages that are very “ordinary”

  6. We are seeing the same thing for queries like “seattle wedding photographer”. This used to return a 7 pack, and now we are seeing a 3 pack.

  7. My original search for ‘hotels san francisco’ that was returning 3 results the day this article was published is now returning 4 results. Just thought I’d update. A tiny bit of growth.

  8. I am also seeing that the view of the local area has slightly moved, thus not seeing my location. Has anyone else noticed a shift in the view?

  9. I have noticed that due to google instant a localized search no longer needs to have a place name in it.
    On the lefthand side of the search screen you will notice that there is an option to change location.
    If I type “laptop repair” it shows my listing at #1 but if I finish the search and and “croydon” the map zooms to only cover the town center and my listing does not appear anymore.
    I wish google had not updated as search results are not relevant as they used to be.
    Because of this shift Im in the proccess of opening a new shop in the town center.

  10. @Steve
    The Place page now plays second fiddle to websites in most results.

    @Jeffery
    Yes one of the stranger outcomes has been the appearance of 9 and 10 packs.

    @Miriam

    obviously still very fluid

    @Steve
    the search area is a function of many factors and can move from time to time. See my post on Location sensitivity.

    @Graham
    It is a complicated beast. Rather than stress about specific search phrases you need to worry about making your site the best it can be, converting more visitors and increasing your online prominence. It is a never ending task.

  11. Hmmm… still seeing only 3 packs in Albany NY (which interestingly enough, was ranked by Acxiom as the #1 “test market” in America in 2004 -)

    Also unchanged: “plastic surgeon albany ny” still displays 3 listings all from the same practice/group (phone & address for all 3 listings = exact matches… How does Google’s algorithm not notice the difference between a practice and its practitioners? If they’re going to show a 3 pack, the least they could do is show 3 different practices.

    Same goes for “liposuction albany ny

  12. Breaking news from sunny Brighton England…
    4 pack returns to 7…
    However content of 7 pack is not up to scratch, poorly optimized, no reviews, no websites and no citations.
    Hmm makes all that work on my page 2 site seem worthwhile!

    peace….

  13. Yes, all seems to be back to “normal” for now, whatever normal means.

    I still don’t see how a 3 pack provides the “best, most relevant” result for a user so makes much more sense for G to move back to a 7+ pack. Clearly they are testing and moving things around quite a bit which is the same thing they are doing with the organic non local results each week. I also think the missing descriptions today are just a short term glitch and will be restored in due time.

  14. Since early ths morning the 7-packs were being displayed, however, about an hour ago, the dreaded 3-packs came back.

    Anyone else see this?

  15. I’ve been seeing 7 packs in our market for the past week, but no descriptions, which I find very troubling. Being in a Places pack with no description isn’t helpful to those looking for services IMO.

  16. Having google change the rules has really hurt my pet odor removal business. Having them change from places to Google + Local has really cut down on the number of page views I get. I hope this gets settles out quickly.

  17. It seems it is taking forever for Google to merge the new Google Plus page and Google Places. Is there a quick way to get google to merge them in a timely manner. this is a 2 year old places page to merge with a new Google Plus

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