Is the Snak Pak the Future of Mobile Local Packs?

I have been watching mobile Local Pack results for the past several weeks. This Guide to Google Mobile Local Pack Results catalogued what I was seeing across iPhone results as of several weeks ago. I am now seeing indications that the Local Stack, which requires an additional click to get to the business information, may be heading our way more broadly.

Last week, the Local Stack (aka Snak Pak) was, like the desktop version, only showing on entertainment, recreation, travel and food searches in all browsers and apps where I looked. Now I am seeing it for general search results in Google Now.

Google Now Local result showing
Google Now Local result showing

To some extent, mobile Local results are flying below the radar. And as I pointed out over the weekend, they vary a lot by device. But it seems that Google is on a path going with these local results from the classic pack with direct call, directions and web links to a more limited pack with just call links and now the Local Stack requiring a user to click in for even the least bit of information.

I am sure that Google would argue that its for the users benefit. Hard for me to see how hiding critical information like calling and driving directions is helping users.

Here is the fairly quick evolution we are seeing:

3-pack-old-385x1024

 

Photo Apr 13, 3 20 56 PM Photo Apr 12, 9 43 13 AM (1)

These screen shots were taken with different browsers and there is no guarantee that they will coalesce around the one with the least information. But given that this update like the previous update showed up first in Google Now that seems to me the likely direction.

 

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Is the Snak Pak the Future of Mobile Local Packs? by

14 thoughts on “Is the Snak Pak the Future of Mobile Local Packs?”

  1. Hm. What some have called the “snack pac” should really be renamed as the Crap Pac. Or alternatively the No Info Pac.

    Under what misguided perspective could ANYONE argue that information that
    Doesn’t give you an address
    Doesn’t give you a phone number
    Doesn’t give you a link to the site

    is in fact helpful information. Its only what customers want to know. Every other entity shows these critical pieces of information. The Crap Pac/Snack Pac withholds it.

    I’d scream bloody murder. I can’t think of a worse user interface and a worse presentation for customers.

    Bing local results=MUCH BETTER.
    Yelp local results=MUCH BETTER.
    IYP’s local results= MUCH BETTER.

    but its google. They are a monopoly. They can do what they want and get away with it. And generally the seo world won’t balk. Even though its an absolutely miserable purposefully non informative piece of information.

    Hey, Have I made my point???? 😀

  2. Joy:

    Call boxes show at all hours. Our businesses show. Users call when we’re closed and they get our various answering service technologies.

    ….;)

    on the other hand if you are a small business and your google traffic starts to dry up…..might you consider adwords??? If competitors have ads with phone extentions what would you dod? What do you think?

  3. Google is all about ad revenue, so they need folks to click on ads 😉 providing NAP info and Call buttons provides a better user experience, but it doesn’t get near the same amount of ad clicks. So G continue to experiment to achieve that fine ‘compromise’ between user experience and max # of clicks… then they will chip away at everything to “just get more clicks”… user experience be dammed (there are shareholders to please).

  4. Removing critical data from the pack…. It doesn’t make sense! Definitely not in the users’ interests.

    I smell a revenue play here. Perhaps a sort of “sponsored” local result/product will soon become available, where business data such as driving directions and tap-to-call is only available for those businesses willing to pay for it via PPC – likely integrated through AdWords and GMB.

    I may be wrong! Too bad I’m already seeing these packs on my desktop and mobile device, as well.

  5. This ‘snak pack’ has already replaced most service and accommodation searches in the UK on multiple platforms. Cleary a trend set to continue.Transition was made over the Easter weekend.
    Having occupied a couple of prime positions I noticed web hits take a series hit in the days after and came to investigate why. (finding this explanation in the process).
    Snak pack has also take the usual 7 pack down to 3 with a couple of clicks to get through to the website. Google have at stroke made local far less visible.

    Mind you if some of the other big players get their way they would have local packs removed completely. Legal action being considered today in the EU.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32307096

    Maybe we should be grateful for the few crumbs they let us ‘locals’ have off the table?

  6. @KB

    When I refer to the “Snak Pak”, it explicitly applies only to results that offer no direct action by the user. That is no click to call, no click for driving directions and no click for the website.

    I have not seen the Snak Pak in mobile on most browsers yet. Could you share a mobile screen shot of its occurrence in a mobile browser?

  7. My bad Mike.

    Just looked again on a 360×592 android with firefox it is is displaying plus.google.com link plus a clickable telephone number box.

    Still two clicks to get to a real website with any information though.

    Am sure I saw something different a few days ago. Maybe they were tweaking one of the data centres.

  8. @KB
    You might very well have. If my theory is correct than you will be seeing the snak pak more in the coming weeks. Thanks for checking!

    You might see different results in Google Now and or Chrome as well.

  9. KB’s comments are telling. The no info/crap pac kills traffic to local smb sites.Visitors want to look at sites. Its a deliberate traffic killer.

    Nobody in the local seo community wants to rise up? I’d suggest the emperor wears no clothes and the public won’t speak to it.

  10. Mike: Ignoring for a second my loud “whine” about how miserable the “crap pac” results are for users (you politely call it the snack pac) its really tough on smbs. Ultimately it reduces traffic to the smb’s website.

    The Knowledge box/ or info box, or local info box…or whatever you want to call it, is a severely limited presentation. It shows what google wants it to show, not what the smb wants.

    If the smb wants to promote something on its website….the traffic isn’t getting there. Its intercepted by the knowledge box. If there is exciting news about the smb….the traffic isn’t getting there.

    What does an smb do???? Well you can always advertise….-> in google, of course!!!!

    Or the smb has to go elsewhere….to other large sources of traffic to attract leads: media, facebook, twitter, other social media, news, possibly amazon local, links from other sites, off web. Its a big effort….and when searches with intent are focused on search engines…..its tough.

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