Why Brands Should Be Worried About the Local Scroll Pack

On mobile, local brand searches on Google have long been mundane affairs largely focused on the brand that the consumer searched for. They delivered up nearby locations, a logo, an about tab and typically highlighted pages from the brand site.

It was a straight up recovery search by a customer that your brand owned. 

Even with the recent tests that displayed tabs for Brand Packs (ht/ Sergey Alakov), there are few distractions from the searchers task at hand, finding the location of the brand they were looking for. 

But the new Local Branded Scroll Pack changes all of that.

A simple recovery search becomes a discovery search allowing consumers to explore outside of their normal habits.  Google is actively highlighting related searches that might entice the brand searcher otherwise entrenched in their comfort zone.  Similar businesses that might serve what your favorite brand does  but cheaper, better or with fuller service are now readily highlighted front and center in the Branded Scroll Pack result.

Starbucks is a case in point.

With the new calls to action and bright red pins in the most recent versions of the Scroll Pack, searchers (or at least I was)  are actively guided to the red pins offered below the brand locations.

All of the sudden, Starbucks  isn’t necessarily the best coffee, isn’t the only one offering ready wifi and temp office space and is but one amongst many coffee shops. 

As Dan Leibson of Local Seo Guide noted in a conversation discussing these results: “I’m curious how this will net out. I would imagine for retail brands that focus on diverse products e.g. big box, they could theoretically net out ahead”.

I think that is largely true IF a brand is surfaced for the categories/attributes of the suggested search that are offered.

But for every brand that is rewarded there are going to be ones that won’t be. And while it might in the end be a zero sum game from Google’s perspective, it will not be seen as such from the point of view of the Starbucks of the world.

All of a sudden they have one more search result that they have to worry about and try to compete for just to keep their existing customers that are searching for them in the fold.

To see the current styles of brand packs ….

Boy, talk about testing, I have seen all three of these different results over the past 24 hours.

Typical Branded Local Pack
Branded Local Pack with additional tabs
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Why Brands Should Be Worried About the Local Scroll Pack by

20 thoughts on “Why Brands Should Be Worried About the Local Scroll Pack”

  1. Hey Mike,

    It appears they are playing with a similar feature we’re seeing with Chrome on android phones. Since it looks like its related I thought I’d post it here.

    Google is now pointing out other ‘options’ (and competitors) when someone goes to a business website on an Android phone. After your article, I assume this new feature that I’m seeing (at least in Michigan) is rolling out with the local Pack and GMB “More Results” feature.

    When someone brings up a business website on an android phone, after the site completely loads, a white banner button appears at the bottom of the screen that says “View 10 related Pages”. Not sure if it is happening on every result but we are seeing it on all SAB’s

    Currently the 10 related pages the bottom banner links to are just additional search results that deliver similar businesses or lead sites like Home Advisor.

    Currently we see actual search results without ads. However, I personally don’t expect this to last since this basically gives Google a banner ad at the bottom of a website they can sell where they don’t need to share any revenue with the site’s owner.

    We are not seeing it on Apple phones, but I’m curious if anyone else is seeing this elsewhere on Android phones? –dave

    1. Correction: I reread my post and realized I misspoke. It’s results from the Google App’s Search/Address Bar–not Chrome–where the “View 10 related pages” button is showing up”. –dave

  2. Not seeing this yet in my area (Pennsylvania) but will keep an eye out. Wonder how this will work with Google’s latest “test” feature for SAB’s, “Google-Verified Services”, which is not getting much attention. Heard of/seen it? Google is confirming licensing and insurance requirements for local roofers in Pennsylvania and providing a pay-per-lead service, serving verified listings as “Ads” on the top. Curious what people think or if anyone can point me in the direction of any articles on this. Like I said, it is not getting much attention at least in my circles.

    1. It’s called Google Home Services and a few of my clients in the HVAC space are having excellent results with it. They only pay for leads that relate to their service mix. All leads are recorded and you can track the ROI. Great for smaller businesses where AdWords is too expensive. GHS doesn’t service all vertices.

  3. @RJ

    This has been appearing off and on since May. Clearly it is not the default yet and it may never be. But the fact that is has been so persistent makes me wonder that it likely will.

    Local Service Ads and Advanced Verification have been topics here and elsewhere in the local space. Tom Waddington is a good person to follow for the nitty gritty details.

  4. @Mike,
    Yeah I think I noticed it maybe in June. But not on-and-off here, just On. It’s different than other Google Ads because it’s actually pay per lead, not click. Interested to see where it goes. It is prominently at the top for major searches (e.g. “roofers near me”, “roofing companies”). Most longer-tail keywords do not yield that result though. But, yet another example of Google becoming more of a Portal than a search engine! I’ll look into Tom Waddington – thanks for the info!

    1. @Rj
      It has been rolling out for almost 2 years but is just now reaching the hinterlands. In any market Google needs at least 3 bidders to show the ads. they are very cost effective and those using are getting great returns

  5. Hey Mike, sorry to point this typo out for you but the top screen grab is a search for “Syarbucks Buffalo” so perhaps that’s why you are seeing different results?

  6. @Jeffrey
    I corrected that in the actual search but Apple retained it in the search bar so no its not the reason for the result.

    I have been getting these off and on since the end of May

  7. I’ve been seeing this too for several months – Wisconsin – but it’s been very inconsistent and scattered.
    Not sure what they plan to achieve with this format, but I believe it goes against the “serving up user results” that Google so vehemently strives to produce.

    1. @Scott I wasn’t thrilled about it either, as it takes up a lot of space ABOVE the local 3 pack, which is hard enough to get on. But I can see how Google can definitely justify this because they can say “this is totally in keeping with E-A-T for a YMYL result – we are serving searchers with SAB results who have passed a background check, licensing and insurance verification (expertise, authenticity and trustworthiness)”.

      I would be interested to see how many people skip right over this the way searchers skip right over other page 1 ads at the top. E.g those heat map studies that show where people are looking.

      You’re right though – it’s another paytoplay avenue to contend with.

    1. Nah. There will always be results for organic page 1 and local 3pack results for SMBs. A lot of people skip the ads. And in the end this is another form of advertising (and it is labeled as such on the serps)

  8. I don’t like it… it highlights the ad and makes a searcher (want to?) scroll to see the other listings – there is too much emphasis on the ad.

  9. Glad this is not the default. It is interesting and I understand why it is in play, but doesn’t support those of us who focus organically.

  10. I’ve been trying to recreate this in the UK but haven’t been able to as of yet. Certainly is interesting. I guess from a consumer perspective, it’s perfect. But not so much for the brands. Will be interesting to see if this sticks around for good.

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