7 Pack Decline of over 60% Reported by MozCast

Update: Moz has provided me with a list of local searches that were returning packs that no longer are. I am sharing this here as a Google Doc. If you draw any conclusions from the data please reshare it.

There has been some discussion at Plus and SearchEngineland about the impact of the recent Local Search algo update on directories and Local Pack results. While the article at SEL was anecdotal this recent data from Moz is less so.

Here is a communication with Cyrus Shepard and Dr. Pete Meyers at Moz about the prevalence of the Pack in results they track:

Out of the 10K keywords MozCast tracks, 5K are localized (to 5 metro areas). On the morning of 7/24, 560/5000 (11.2%) were showing pack results. This morning (7/25), only 212/5000 (4.2%) were showing back results. We saw a 60%+ drop day-over-day.

Local carousels were also down, and one-boxes seems to be up.

When viewing in the context of the Local MozCast the apparent drop in 7-Pack results appears significant. I suppose it is conceivable that they are showing more on searches that Moz isn’t tracking but the Moz sample is large and varied and this is the best overall view so far.

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27 thoughts on “7 Pack Decline of over 60% Reported by MozCast”

  1. Interesting MozCast research, but the numbers don’t match what I’ve seen so far. I’m seeing somewhat fewer local packs, but the difference is night like day and night. Moz’s sample is small, but mine is smaller, so who knows.

    One thing I have noticed: 3-packs galore.

  2. I’m seeing weird stuff, like a difference for searches with “locality keyword” and “keyword in locality.” Anybody else seen that?

  3. That’s weird, I have seen several 3-packs in my area now showing 7-packs. It is only for a small sample of searches (like 12) but I am seeing more maps results. Thanks for this post. I will continue tracking as things are still shaking out.

  4. I have seen difference in adding the state after a city, namely adding a state triggering the pack more. Very strange. It seems like this goes against Google’s own idea of serving the most relevant result. The 1 pack doesnt always serve whats closest and the algo tweak could favor aggregators in some industries, which often serve up search pages. Not a good thing if it stands as is

  5. A couple of data points on the Moz results.

    On several searches just in the Chicago area, in two cases I saw 7 pacs today where Moz didn’t see them the day before.

    The rollout could be in flux as mentioned elsewhere by you and one or more others.

    On the search phrase for Maurice’s, a chain of stores, I saw a 3 pac today. That could be similar to Moz’s study. Per Maurice’s store finder there are no stores w/in 20 miles, 5 stores within 30 miles and 12 stores w/in 40 miles. Maurice’s and Google might have a different “centroid point” . Don’t know.

    that could reflect a reduction in how google looks at the geo range for this search.

    For one of our industries, which is regional in nature, across the country we are seeing increases in geo range and larger pacs. We are also seeing the elimination of “border”….such that if one was in Southern Va or Northern NC, one might only have seen PAC results in one state or the other for certain types of searches. Currently where there were, “blocks” in the google pac result, eliminating results from a very nearby, but bordering state, we now don’t see those blocks.

    The above are simply observations.

  6. Mike I just made an important discovery I think.

    It could be affecting the accuracy of the Moz data. OR if the Moz data is correct, then could affect the results that those here are getting when they are trying to compare and cross check the Moz data.

    I hate to link drop again, but my point is better explained by the screenshots in post# 5 where I’ve been tracking the pack changes for Seattle Chiropractor: http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local-important/20630-major-google-local-algo-update-google-pigeon.html#post44489

    See new update 7/26 in the post above.

    In briefer nutshell: If search location is set to city than the city in the query search results NOW vary WILDLY. They did not before as long as city was in the query.

    In the past if I searched Seattle Chiropractor, as long as city was in the query I’d get the same results, no matter where my search location was set. In other words, location would be set to LA or Dallas, did not matter. I’d change location to Seattle to double check rankings and they would still be exactly the same. It would usually have no affect. (Occasionally maybe one listing would be off.)

    Now search location settings appear to have a dramatic affect. I can see wildly different SERPs by changing the city. So it appears location settings have to be set right to get an accurate reading now.

  7. Interesting follow up to the post above…

    I also have software set up that does auto screenshots of the entire pack anytime there is any movement.

    I just had the developer add geo located searches to the program about a month ago for accuracy.

    Just got report for Seattle Chiro today the pack is the same as it was prior to the update. So his server which is overseas is not seeing the update or is hitting a different data center.

  8. I have a strong suspicion that there is an issue with the URLs that Moz uses to automatically check the results.

    From what I read on the shared by Mike, Moz sets the city only using the “near:” URL parameter, but from what I’m observing this way to set the location does not always produce “correct” results anymore.

    Other ways to set the location still show the local pack. Maybe someone of you who interacts with the Moz guys could suggest them to check some of those queries manually?

    Maybe what I’m observing is related to what Linda is also observing.

    1. Enrico – I think you are correct. The search string using near does produce odd results. I think that something has changed in how google processes that query string. Unfortunately that likely means that we won’t be able to use to the old data to get an idea of what change if any occurred.

  9. Mike: between Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I’m seeing differing results each day.

    This appears to be a moving target!!!! 😉

  10. One other item: I am seeing a lot more prominence in directories of all types floating toward the top. I’m seeing them in different searches in different regions and for different industries.

    Here is our long term observation.
    ANYTHING that floats to the top of the google page that displaces your smb site, whether it is organic or in the PAC, ANYTHING that floats above it…cuts traffic to your site.
    It could be ADS, it could be THICKER ADS,
    It could be Knowledge Boxes
    It could be sites from what google describes as “Valuable Content”
    It could be directories.

    If directories are floating to higher rankings in local searches it will cut traffic. If PAC’s are reduced from 7 to 3, and the organic rankings are filled with things other than smb’s, it will cut traffic.

    If there are LESS 7 PACs and more directories and other content, other than the smb business itself….there are very few good alternatives. One of them is ADWORDS.

    ….and I think that has a lot to do with these changes. 😉

    btw: didn’t Google just send out fancy dancy mailers suggesting Adwords????? Interesting coincidence.

    Some other web POWERHOUSE did something like this recently and it has worked with GREAT financial results—> Facebook.
    FB dramatically cut engagement to business “fan pages” Traffic dropped like crazy. Every DAY admins for FAN PAGES get “gentle” reminders to do some FB advertising.

    FB just had its GREATEST FINANCIAL QTR. by far.

    Some coincidence. 😀

  11. I have noticed lots of changes like everyone else here has commented. One notable issue is that I am seeing incorrect local results in 3-packs. I search for Valrico Chiropractor (one of my clients is a chiropractor in Valrico, FL) and Google now gives me a 3-pack with 3 chiropractors in neighboring Brandon, FL. These addresses are all for Brandon, FL, not Valrico. Before the change, my client was #1 in the 3-7 pack for all the valrico chiropractor searches, now he’s gone completely and Google is providing local listings that are in a completely different city. That’s not right.

  12. We noticed this the most in the Mortgage industry for us over in British Columbia Canada. It’s interesting to see this have a more predominant appearance in the US local.

  13. Seems that all 7 packs, 3 packs etc are gone for all real estate services. Packs appeared prior for Orlando Rental Homes showing real estate offices etc now GONE… and in many other cities as well.

  14. Anyone else wonder why the 7 pack only shows for select business types? When I do some searches where it’s obvious I’m searching for companies (i.e., web design company cityname), it doesn’t seem to want to show the 7 pack. I can’t imagine why this is the case.

    It’s so eager to show for the usual stuff like dentists, lawyers, plumbers, etc…. but I don’t see a definite pattern/rule for what kinds of searches get the 7 pack treatment and what don’t.

    Anyone care to shed some light on this?


  15. Through all of this, what I haven’t heard much about is traffic changes. Are we seeing less traffic, the same or more. Tracking 10 local clients we haven’t seen much difference since the change. Some sample, but each was at least somewhat affected by the new local changes. odd.

    1. @mike I presume you are referring to the new 3 pack. I was hoping to take a look at traffic 30 days in. But so far saw some small shifts that are hard to attribute to the change.

      I would hypothesize that calls might be down, particularly in call dependent businesses like plumber etc.

  16. .Mike, yes I was referring to the new 3 suck… I mean pack. the majority of ours are residential contractor types. When you say “calls” do you mean generic calls. from web searches, or Google tracked?

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