7 Pack Becoming 3 Pack with Mobile Like Snak Pack Rollout?

I woke this morning to reports of the new mobile styled Snak Pak being seen via Safari in the Netherlands and to it now being seen nationwide in my Firefox browser.

Given its increasing visibility across the US and internationally, I would suggest that this is likely a rollout not a test. I have asked Google for a comment.

I would also note that on the many searches where I am seeing it in Firefox, many previous 7-Packs are now showing as the 3 listing Snak Pak. I was unable to elicit a 7 Pack regardless of geography or search phrase.

Obviously with the reduction of the 7-pack to only showing 3 listings, organic and adwords both will take on increasing importance.

Tip: If you want to see the Local Finder for any given local search that is not yet returning the new Snak Pak add the operator “&tbm=lcl” to the end of the search.

Eduard de Boer, long time local specialist now with Whitespark noted their appearance in the Netherlands on a range of searches:

20150806-tandarts-beuningen

As a note, this test/rollout would complete the total removal of Plus from local as not only do non verified pages not link the G+ page but verified listings with active pages show no link.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 8.10.43 AM

no-plus
Note the TOTAL ABSENCE of any links to the Google Plus page!
More screen shots from around the country in varying categories showing the new Snak Pak:

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 8.15.16 AM

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 8.13.58 AM

 

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
7 Pack Becoming 3 Pack with Mobile Like Snak Pack Rollout? by

46 thoughts on “7 Pack Becoming 3 Pack with Mobile Like Snak Pack Rollout?”

  1. Still may be a test and depend on which data center you are hitting. I still get normal 7 packs with all those searches in FF.

    But if it’s being seen more widely, then it could be coming soon. 🙁

  2. @Linda
    Yes it still could be a test but my gut says that it is a test on a very large scale and getting larger every day…and that is soon to be the new normal. It explains the many inconsistencies we were seeing about the G+ Local pages and their links disappearing as well.

  3. Yes you are probably right!

    How do the organic listings around this new pack look. Still a good number of local businesses with a couple directories mixed in??? But still multiple chances to get on page 1?

  4. Seeing it in hundreds of cities in the insurance industry now. Typically seeing PPC with a Local 3 Pack and then 10 results. Most of the Organic seems to be brands and not directories.

  5. I started to see the new 3 Snack Pack during afternoon hours today across multiple locations in the U.S. with both branded and non branded keywords. It seems like a full roll-out on my end.

  6. So far all of my searches have come up with the new 3 pack layout (dentist, auto dealer, etc). I’m trying to find more information about it but there is hardly any news about it.

  7. Noticed it here in the Silicon Valley this morning for an attorney query. I’m not seeing what Brian is seeing regarding directories. Coincidentally I did a query last night to see how many directories showed up on the first page. There were 7. The same 7 are there today.

  8. This version of the Crap Pack is a devastating hit on small businesses everywhere. On the top of the page are ads. Then a large map, then 3 smb’s without a phone number, or an address, and what is a limited box for a link. The weblink is relatively small and as sizable as the box for directions.

    Google, once known as a Search Engine has become the Google Decision Maker. Don’t look at links…look at Google’s results and google pages, and possibly a google box. But don’t go to smb’s websites. That is the net result.

    Of course if you advertise and bid high, you can be seen. In fact you can have a phone number. I don’t think it will be too long before Google will use redirect phone numbers and charge significantly for them.

    Mike: Maybe you missed this in the past. Google is a monopoly on search. And now google has redirected local search to be the Google WAY!!!

    Well advertising is one route to get seen. Ahhh…Adwords. Did you see the latest data on costs for adwords, thanks to SEMRUSH; one of the best tools for assessing competitiveness and ads?? You can read it here.

    Son of a gun!!!! The overwhelming majority of expensive keywords in adwords are LOCAL!!!!!

    Google, our friendly search engine monopoly has become the local tax collector for local businesses. Its a nationwide monopoly. High costs are everywhere around the nation!!!

    Here is a quote from the last paragraph in the article:

    “Google recently released its quarterly earnings report. In that, it reported that aggregate paid clicks were up 18% year-over-year and 7% quarter-over-quarter. That’s up 30% year-over-year on Google sites and 9% year-over-year on network members’ sites. Aggregate CPCs were up 11% year-over-year and 4% quarter-over-quarter. CPC on Google sites was up 16% year-over-year.”

    Anyway back to the CRAP Pack.

    Ads on the top of the page: A very large Map with only 3 businesses. A listing of those 3 businesses: No ADDRESS, NO PHONE NUMBER—and sweet ole Google….they gave us a weeny link to the website.

    Its tough on smb’s. Its tough on their websites….Expect less traffic. Its tough on any other site that is promoting businesses.

    Google: Its no longer a search engine: Its big brother telling you that if you ride their highway you have to pay to get on the road, pay to get off the road, and probably pay at a toll booth every half mile.

  9. Hi Mike, I’m seeing it in Canada for every local business search that I perform, including branded searches like “State Farm”

  10. The seven pack was still showing up in geo related searches today in Pittsburgh, until about 4 p.m. on my end. Then like magic- it all changed! Like Brian, I’m seeing 1 PPC ad, the Map , 3 pack, and 10 listings. I’d say a decent reduction in the amount of directories showing up as well. However it appears Yelp is still holding on strong! My question is in regards to Google+. I have seen a few G+ posts rank in queries, but other than that- it’s been absent entirely. What impact will Google+ have in SEO going forward? Is it safe to say that spending time and resources on Google+ is essential a waste (except for reviews of course!)? And if they are essentially disconnecting G+ from local impact, do you think they’ll be moving the My Business feature elsewhere- again?!

  11. @Branden
    My Business, for now, functions largely independently of Plus. To see that in action look at the MyBusiness app for either iPhone or Android. It’s modular and could easily be with or not with G+. So Google.com/mybusiness will stay pretty much as is regardless for the foreseeable future.

    Reviews also can function without Plus. They don’t need Plus for display. As for responding you only need MyBusiness.

    As to your comments about directories etc. I am not yet sure what is filling the other organic spots but that is certainly an opportunity that every local player needs to explore.

    Obviously this has been in the works for a while. We have seen Maps separated, then Hangouts, then search, then Photos and now local. What will become of “Streams” as they are now calling, one can only guess. They certainly have little value from the POV of the SMB at the moment.

  12. @Mike

    Thanks for your input! I guess I’m concerned that the time spent posting regularly to Google+ for SMB may no longer be of the value it was yesterday!

  13. @branden well the benefit of posting was always a marginal proposition for most SMBs and became even less so when the posts were removed from the Knowledge panel. Like with Facebook, the benefit will only accrue to those that have lots of followers.

  14. P.S. You can still get Google+ links from branded searches. Had to check that out, but otherwise, newcomers to Local SEO may not even know what a Google+ Local page is pretty soon. How do you feel about that, Mike?

  15. Just confirming the 3 Snack Pack is visible down here in South Africa too this morning. Thanks for the heads up.

  16. @Miriam I have never felt that the G+ page was much visited. The last time G+ posts had value was when they appeared in the KP.

    This final solution is just a reflection of Google’s failure of integrating Local and Plus. And is a public acknowledgement that they get more value if users don’t leave search.

    Not necessarily a failure of plus per se.

  17. Others are complaining about it, but I think the link to “Website” is fine. Most might click on the business name out of habit to get to the website, but that benefits those below the Snack Pak as that click opens to the longer result list. And that I really like. I actually think it’s easier to see more this way in a list devoid of directories, and those businesses not in the top 7 might actually get more clicks as result as it’s so easy to scroll through a long list. The abbreviated snapshot of G+ page on the right is visually prominent, except for the fact that it requires a click, but on my laptop the photos are cropped so they haven’t done a good job fitting it into a 15″ monitor. It’s not uncommon to see a picture of someone with their head cut off. At first I was really upset that there were only 3 showing, but being so short, that might FORCE users to actually look for more, whereas the 7 pack did not. And like I said, once you click through, that’s better for everyone. My biggest complaints now are that the “More..” link isn’t prominent enough. I think I’d like to see a button. Or at least a colored bar that it is in. And I’d like to see the G+ snapshot come up with a rollover instead of a click.

  18. Seeing it across the board here in the UK, including branded searches (e.g. M&S). Results layout now looks pretty much same as mobile, which is where all local searches are headed anyway right!

  19. I do think it is interesting that Google assumes a default interaction for a user on mobile is to call (hence the replacement of the website and directions with the call button on a mobile device) but on desktop it is to visit the website or get directions. So much so that the phone number is not even there. You have to click to get to the number in the KP. Also, definitely a continued heightened reason to get good reviews, those are extremely prominent on the KP now even more than before.

    Certainly more ad revenue for google though, can’t disagree with that part of a comment above.

  20. Snak packs in all my searches here in Canada (just for additional conformation). But sometimes I get the 3 ads then 2 directories (usually kijiji and yellowpages), then the map and snak pack.
    What I find weird is that I am already getting the urge to click on the map and follow the results within that instead of staying on the SERP. They just don’t have snippets and a few other bells and whistles. Could this be Google trying to push people towards searching on the maps? Though only after going to the SERP and seeing the ads…

  21. @Mike – thanks for another informative post – here in little ole Southport NC the awesome ( strike that) awful Snak Pak has risen up out of the sea of sewer – ah well…

    Question re: The last time G+ posts had value was when they appeared in the KP.
    This is a service that we give to our clients and one that I’ve always struggled with as to value – I’m considering not “giving” this as part of our service moving forward.

    Thoughts? – this may be part of another convo – and if so my apologies.

  22. @Holly
    Google Streams (previous known as G+) has some value as a social stream IF you are active and have a strong group of followers. Its use case in local is much less obvious.

    If you are already writing a blog post and posting it to Facebook, Twitter and G+ with appropriate modifications then continue to do so if it is returning traffic and or engagement.

    But that has always been the nub of it, do it if it has an ROI. Currently that is very difficult to pull off with small businesses that have no followers, no distinct voice and no presence on G+. But that is true of Facebook and Twitter as well.

  23. Mike, to follow up your last comment about Google Streams, I think Google really dropped the ball on this one. Social media is a great way for consumers to get an inside look into the personality, the idealogy, and the professionalism of a company. It’s a place where you can carry on a conversation, meet the staff, literally see, through pictures, how things are run. In short it’s a way to begin to build a relationship with your customers even before they buy from you. Google never provided that opportunity very well. Even before this latest change it was difficult to find a Google+ page and most consumers didn’t know it existed. But I can see why Google would hide it. It keeps people in search where the money is (they dropped the ball there too because there are ways to have the money follow).

    As for whether or not G+ has advantages for small businesses, because it’s been virtually invisible, not so much for sales, but I’ve found tremendous value as a marketer connecting with other professionals (not consumers) on behalf of my clients. You want exposure for your latest blog? Then connect with an influencer in G+ and they’ll help get the word out for you. That’s true of any social media platform, but I’ve actually found it much more effective in G+ communities. As for connecting with consumers, I’m a Facebook boosted-post fan. You don’t have to have any followers there to pull it off.

  24. Wow, I don’t like it. Ugly, bulky, incomplete feeling. I am also seeing it show up below the fold on some searches. I think JavaScript dynamic phone numbers are going to be a must if this shift is going to be here for the long run. Eager to see what are community ends up determining what ranking factors influence the three pack.

  25. A strange move, I feel like this is where we were before the introduction of Google+. Local results that encourage users to browse more results on a Google Maps like platform.

  26. I take a few days off and BAM! Google makes all kinds of important mods. Thanks Mike for being “The firstest with the mostest ” even though i arrived to the party late 😉

  27. This new snak pack created a lof of drama. Within the first month of it going live, I did get a few call from local business asking Whisky Tango Foxtrot.

  28. With the recent changes in Snack Pack, have you found any of the following techniques to boost rankings within the listings:

    – Geo-tagging images w/ GPS locations and uploading them to Google My Business?

    – Going to a service like Whitespark and finding the top current citations for those already in the top 3, and then getting those citations plus more?

    – Local charity websites and making a small donation to get a link from the desired town, especially if not in the specific town where the client’s address is located?

    – Anything else besides getting more high-star ratings?

    Thanks for your thoughts on this!

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