Are Big Brands Being Forced Out of the Local Stack?

 

Google Local in a nutshell
Google Local in a nutshell

Updated July 25th, 2016

It has been over 2 months since Google reduced the Local results from 7 down to 3. Since the change, I’ve been attempting to analyze various items in the Pack – picture sizes, who is ranking, why they are ranking and what factors are keeping the businesses in the Local Stack. I’ve written several posts on how terrible the results are and what a poor experience the Local Stack has been so far. I think Google is doing some things to better the user experience but it still has a ways to go.

I have been noticing more and more small business, “mom and pop” shops, located in the Local Stack since the change and decided to test my theory that big Brands are being pushed out of the Local results.

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Local Stack Pack Pushes Organic Down the Page

 

Crystal Lake Dentist
Crystal Lake Dentist

I’ve been doing additional testing on the “new” Local Stack Pack and the Local Finder. Here are some additional observations from my testing:

  • Organic Listings are no longer listed above the Local Stack [tweetthis]Organic Listings are no longer listed above the Local Stack via @brianbarwig[/tweetthis]
  • GMB Primary Categories are now showing in the Stack and Local Finder [tweetthis]GMB Primary Categories are now showing in the Stack and Local Finder via @brianbarwig[/tweetthis]
  • Zooming in on the Local Finder causes a reduction in listings shown [tweetthis]Zooming in on the Local Finder causes a reduction in listings shown via @brianbarwig[/tweetthis]

Let’s go deeper.

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Local Finder now with Organic Listings

Think You Have Google Figured Out?
Think You Have Google Figured Out?

 

Local Finder with Organic Listings

I wanted to do some testing on the new Organic links showing in the Local Finder which just began rolling out the past few days. These listings are seemingly rolling out live for the whole country after some began seeing them this weekend and even more reported them today. Where is G pulling the information in the Local Finder Organic section? Below are screenshots of test results.

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Google goes to Local 3 Pack

 

New Local Pack
New Local Pack

 

As reported by Mike Blumenthal earlier this week, Google Local has shifted from the 7 Pack to a 3 pack. The shift was first reported as a possible test in various markets, is now rolled out to even more markets and should be nationwide soon.

The shift from a Local 7 Pack to a Local 3 Pack is a horrible user experience for several reasons. Instead of seeing 5 or 7 local results, there are now only 3. Those three local results:

  • Do not have a website
  • Do not have a phone number
  • Do not have a Google+ page visible
  • Take 3 clicks to find a meaningful result

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