New Local 3 Stack: Local Pro Opinions Roundup on the Change that Rocked our World


Linda Buquet

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<img src="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/3stack.jpg" alt="3stack" width="55%" />​

There is tons of chatter going on everywhere about this new (unwelcome) change.

And there have been several great summary/opinion posts from experts in the field.​

So I wanted to start a new post to share everything all in one place. And I'll be adding to this as more and more expert summaries are written. I know this update is at the forefront of everyone's focus right now and I'm sure many others are working on posts as I write this.

But 1st - let's agree on what to call this, since Google has not named it, so we are all on the same page. Mike Blumenthal started an email chain with leaders in the field this AM. The general consensus so far is to call it the "Local Stack". It's slightly different in features than what we've been calling the "Snack Pack".

But for now since this is new and the average SMB may not understand the ramifications... I kinda want to get the #3 in there. We used to call it the 7 pack. How about the the Local 3 Stack to emphasize there are only 3 spots now?

Anyway without further ado, here are all the Local Stack expert opinion and summary posts I've found so far. (If my carpal can hold up to copy all these links.) I won't be able to comment on each one because it's a lot of copying and pasting and I'm crippled up.

LOCAL STACK EXPERT OPINIONS & SUMMARIES

1st, in case you missed it - here is the post at the forum. I wanted to put it on top because so many local pros have weighed in with some really great insights.

<a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/google-local-important/35481-goodbye-7-packs-only-3-packs-no-phone-address-all-local-results.html">Goodbye 7 Packs! Only 3 Packs with No Phone # or Address for All Local Results</a> - My initial summary is in post #22. (But I'm still shell shocked and have not had time to process much.

<a href="https://jurisdigital.com/new-local-results-be-in-the-top-3-or-disappear/">New Local Results! Be in the Top 3 or Disappear</a> - Our Top Contributor Casey Meraz.

<a href="http://imprezziomarketing.com/seo-blog/google-maps/4-observations-about-googles-new-snak-pak-local-search-display/">4 Observations about Google?s New Snak Pak Local Search Display</a> - Our Top Contributor and Google TC Joy Hawkins.

<a href="http://www.integratedigitalmarketing.com/google-goes-to-local-3-pack/">Google goes to Local 3 Pack</a> - Forum and Local Pro Community member Brian Barwig.


Google Now Only Showing 3 Local Results Instead Of 7
- Barry Schwartz.
Lots of good discussion and comments.

Last but not least, because you've likely read them, are Mike Blumenthal's posts.

<a href="http://blumenthals.com/blog/2015/08/06/7-pack-becoming-3-pack-with-mobile-like-snak-pack-rollout/">7 Pack Becoming 3 Pack with Mobile Like Snak Pack Rollout? | Understanding Google My Business & Local Search</a> Mike called it yesterday AM, long before it even showed up in my neck of the woods.

<a href="http://blumenthals.com/blog/2015/08/07/thoughts-about-the-new-local-stack-display/">Thoughts About the New Local Stack Display | Understanding Google My Business & Local Search</a>

Good comments on both of Mike's post so stay tuned for more opinions coming in there.

As I've been working on the image and writing this, I'm sure more good posts have been written. As soon as I can get to my feedreader I'll be adding more.

If you see a good overview, please share below.

AND/OR weigh in with your comments.



STAY TUNED TO THE LOCAL SEARCH CHANNEL FOR MORE COMING SOON!
<meta property="og:type" content="article"><meta property="og:title" content=""><meta property="og:description" content="">
<meta property="og:image" content="">
 

Linda Buquet

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Round #2 - here are a few more good ones I just found.

<a href="http://www.simpartners.com/attack-google-snack-pack/">Attack the Google Snack Pack - SIM Partners</a>

<a href="http://www.thesempost.com/google-local-shakeup-3-pack-only-7-pack-removed-addresses-phone-numbers-gone/">Google Local Shakeup: 3-Pack Only, 7-Pack Removed; Addresses & Phone Numbers Gone</a>

<a href="http://onlineownership.com/local-search-result-change-from-7-pack-to-3-business-snak-pack/">Local Search Result Change from 7 Pack to 3 Business Snak Pack - Online Ownership</a>
By Tim Capper, one of our newest Google Top Contributors.
 

Linda Buquet

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OK, we have a new name for this thing, that was just thrown into the ring.

I'd like to coin a name for this update (since Google is not naming it anyhow).

How about "Middle Finger to Local Business Update"?
From Sergey Lucktinov at the new post at the <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/101614215978783501873">Local Search Pros</a> Google+ Community.
 
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Question, this hasn't been confirmed by Google yet right? So would it be safe to assume they are just testing this out first? Does Google ever officially confirm these types of things? Is it possible that this can be rolled back?

This seems to be nothing short of &#^%ed for SMBs and Local SEO Agencies..
 

Linda Buquet

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True, not confirmed yet and several of us have asked. Sometimes on these things they just won't comment either.

But they HAVE been testing this for months. And it rolled out worldwide all at once. So doubtful it's a test. And even with the Pigeon algo, when it rolled out and was so terrible with tons of spam listings on top and terrible results, they would not roll it back. They will hopefully refine it and hopefully it will get better.

Usually they tell us TCs in advance on any major changes. We still have not heard a word from the Google team we work with and we've been asking since early yesterday before it even fully hit - after Mike 1st declared it was looking like a rollout, not a test.
 
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I'm wondering how Google determined that a 3 stack is the best user experience across all industries. Are they so confident that their chosen 3 are so much better for the consumer to not even show the others without an additional click? Guess we won't know until they comment.
 

Linda Buquet

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I suspect this is setting the stage for Google Home Services...
Kinda sorta I think. This is everything, Drs, Dentists, Attys, not just home services.

BUT as I've said several times I think this is going to eventually turn into pay-to-play, something like the home services ads we've seen in San Francisco.

I'm wondering how Google determined that a 3 stack is the best user experience across all industries. Are they so confident that their chosen 3 are so much better for the consumer to not even show the others without an additional click? Guess we won't know until they comment.
I think 3 spots again is a gradual progression toward some new pay-to-play model. It may not be pay per lead or call like home services because if it's across all industries that would be harder to do.

May just be a straight pay to be listed model.

"Only 3 precious spots - pay a premium if you want to be in one of them."
If you can't afford a 3 spot, then there is always Adwords.

OR maybe once they are ready to charge, then they'll add phone# and it will be pay per call or click.

Guess we won't know until they comment.
I don't think they'll comment at all. If they had a statement they would have told TCs right away, so we'd help spread the word for them.

But I don't think we'll get anything from the Local team we work with, because I don't think this change originated from them. I think this happened on the revenue side and the search display side of the fence.

If they do make a statement next week it will be a generic, it will likely come from the organic side of the house or PR dept and be posted at SE Land. Something like:

"We are always trying new ways to provide the best user experience. This is one of hundreds of changes we make every year." :rolleyes:
 

heckler

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Kinda sorta I think. This is everything, Drs, Dentists, Attys, not just home services.

BUT as I've said several times I think this is going to eventually turn into pay-to-play, something like the home services ads we've seen in San Francisco.
Maybe I'm just hoping (against hope) that this change stays specific to home-services?

In my mind:

Google is creating scarcity (by reducing local packs to only 3 listings) then rolling out paid local ads to offset the reduction in listings. It really smells similar how FB removed its organic reach and now to get the same amount of reach you HAVE to pay-to-play. :\

Knee-jerk reaction to this change is 'kill it with fire', but logically thinking about it; it may be a net positive for honest-hardworking home service providers (and obviously Google's ad-revenue) #stockholmsyndrome.

The great thing about the internet is everyone (big and small brands) are on a level playing field (to an extent), but the problem with that for end-users is sometimes the least qualified business ends up being the one Google shows you (reviews can be gamed). Which can be costly for home-owners.

Maybe this is part of what they're citing about a more positive user experience? They can vet-paid-ad clients better than the algo can for organic/local?

?\_(ツ)_/?
 

Linda Buquet

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Good points Bryan.

Plus I like your little guy. I'm stealing him. He'll come in handy so many times during these turbulent local times!
 

Linda Buquet

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Back to round ups. There have been a lot more posts but they are pretty much saying the same things that we already know.

Here are a couple posts that add a different spin on these changes.

<a href="http://incomebully.com/google-rolls-out-the-3-pack-local-stack-what-you-need-to-know-to-profit/">Google Rolls Out the 3 Pack Local Stack...What YOU Need To Know To Profit! - Income Bully</a>

Nathan sees the new 3 pack as an opportunity! AND he's right! If you are really good and usually get your clients in the top 3, which should always be the goal anyway... then this update just knocked out 42% of your competition!

<a href="http://activerain.com/blogsview/4721176/never-trust-a-google-fad-or-end-up-like-this">Never Trust A Google Fad Or End Up Like This</a>

Dave stresses organic, for better results and avoiding Google's LOCAL EXPERIMENTS.
 

Tim Colling

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I'm definitely seeing it in the non-medical in-home care industry searches. Perhaps that qualifies as a "home-service", but so far, at least, that's not an industry that Google is accepting for its home services listings, as far as I know.
 

seoWest

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So I can't help but wonder if there is any correlation between Google's recent big push of Get Your Business Online (GYBO) or "Lets Put Our Cities On The Map" campaign and this new 3-Stack crap? Perhaps moving to monetize for placement in sectors outside of Home Services? I wouldn't think so, but...
 

Linda Buquet

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Yes, Dino, that's what I've been saying, one step closer, minor changes that will lead to pay-to-play.

Back to round up and covering the news. Here are 2 click through & heat map studies.

<a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/google-local-important/35624-new-3-pack-click-test-study-see-where-potential-visitors-clicking.html">New 3 Pack Click Test Study! See where potential visitors are clicking</a> - Casey Meraz.

<a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/google-local-important/35664-another-new-local-3-pack-click-through-heat-map-study-mike-ramsey.html">Another New Local 3 Pack Click Through / Heat Map Study</a> - Mike Ramsey.
 

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