Google Local Listings Have Changed, But For Good Or For Worse?
Sometime last week users entering search queries that are relevant for local listings will have noticed a change in the overall appearance aswell as a few bits chopped off the content.
Gone are the 7-pack A to G listings, hello to a new 3-pack listing section which experts are calling it rather somewhat unusual. The decrease in realty space among the local listings only seems to increase competition within the ranks. And why? Well, we’re not too sure yet as there hasn’t been an official announcement from Google.
Full Address Removed
The full complete address of a local listing is now nowhere to be founded in the local listings section. We’re not sure (again) why so now you will have to actually click on the Website button or the listing itself to take you to the map – or you can click directly on the map. Either way it’s not visibly there on the screen.
Contact Numbers Removed
We’re thinking it is a privacy issue but you will need to do the same as you would if you want to get the address and that is by clicking on the listing, website button or map.
We are also secretly thinking that a click = statistic logging (which are more accurate than a Webmaster Tools/Search Console Impression) so Google being Google may be pushing for us to make that click for the purpose of statistics.
Google+ Links Removed
Well, we know that Google+ is hanging on a survival thread so this comes as no surprise here. It is preparing for the inevitable really.
No More Hover Action
Before if you hover your mouse over the arrow-style pull-out, it would reveal the listing as a whole. Now it is a click. But when you click on the listing it takes you to a pretty much similar layout to what it was before.
How Does It Look On Mobile
Unlike the desktop view, the ‘Website’ and ‘Directions’ buttons are replaced with a single ‘Call’ button – which in turn calls the primary listed number.
The CMS IT verdict
Although it may seem like the negatives outweigh the positives, it actually is a very good change.
Google themselves always say that they are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to their users and this change certainly does that. I mean for us in the SEO world it may come across as a speed bump as there will inevitably now be more competition for a Top 3 spot in the local listings section, but Google will argue that they have changed the look and feel so that users will click on the ‘More’ button or dropdown which unravels a list of local businesses in the area.
Also from an SEO point of view just because a business was sitting pretty in one of the old A-G spots, it doesn’t mean that all the hard work must stop, and by Google implementing such a change it should realign SEO efforts to focus a bit more on the local listings.