As some of you may have noticed, Google has made yet another update to their local listings. For a long time searchers relied on Local packs that showed up to 7 listings for a given keyword. Google has been testing a new format over the last couple months and has finally launched this new design for all local searches last night.

Below is what the 7 Pack looked like:
old local listings
Below is what the new “Local Stack” looks like:
new local stack
As you can see there are many differences to this new design. First you will notice that Google no longer shows the customers phone number. This is the biggest concern we as local marketers have with this new update. We feel by not showing the number it could provide a poor customer experience and lead to fewer calls to local businesses.

In addition to not showing phone numbers the next obvious difference is the number of results has been reduced to only 3. For a long time Google would show 3-7 listings in the local pack. Now that Google has reduced that number, some local businesses that used to show up on the first page in the local pack will no longer show up in the local pack.

All in all the local search community is not happy with this change. We feel that this change will even further alienate Google from the  local business owner. Other than the design change itself we don’t expect any changes in algorithm and what it takes to get a website listed to Google. You still need quality content, accurate and consistent local listings and links to rank on Google.

Here are some other sources talking about this update:
Search Engine Land
Mike Blumenthal:



  • Caz*, August 9, 2015 @ 6:46 pm

    I am so surprised. I can’t believe they would remove a phone #. I don’t get it.

  • Jamison Michael Furr, August 10, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

    Me too! I really don’t get it and I’m not happy about it. As a user, having the phone number right there in the results is so useful! Of course, I feel for the SMBs out there too.

  • Andrew Williams, August 10, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

    This is a big update that has affected a lot of website ranking results. On the flip side if you you are in the top three you will get a lot more visits to your site and calls since it is an exclusive club now.

  • Maria Williams, August 10, 2015 @ 4:55 pm

    I’m surprise too that they remove the company phone number. I guess maybe Google wants people to actually visit the Google my business page for that company to find that information and more. Also, I can believe they are showing only 3, it just makes me think that maybe Google is pushing people to have well optimize their maps !

  • Fernando Santos, August 12, 2015 @ 9:30 am

    Yiiiiiiiiihaaaaaaa! Thanks!

  • Greg Groenewald, August 12, 2015 @ 10:27 am

    why not put the tel number in the page title, I do and it works a charm.

  • Evy Hanson, August 12, 2015 @ 10:41 am

    Any news on what criteria determines who gets to be in the top 3? (Other than general best SEO practices). It seems to be a crapshoot who gets the to be in the top three, I’ve even seen businesses in other cities rank higher than local businesses. My take is this algorithm update is to push more use of google adwords.

  • Ammon Mailo, August 12, 2015 @ 1:31 pm

    I already have advertisers outraged by less calls and I this change is partly the culprit.

  • Jamison Michael Furr, August 12, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

    Interesting work around, Greg. That’s not clickable to call on mobile though, is it?

  • M Andrew Eagar, August 12, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

    Great thoughts Maria. I think most of the Local community is still in shock from this change. I think Google removing the phone number is an important step for future advertising opportunities with Google. By requiring a click you can then charge a premium cost per click.

  • M Andrew Eagar, August 12, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

    I agree. Less is more in this case.

  • M Andrew Eagar, August 12, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

    Ammon, I am sure you are the minority in that case. Although, here recently I have found that I do the same. I like seeing more than just 3 options. Maybe this trend will take off across multiple users and show Google we want more than just three! One can hope.

  • M Andrew Eagar, August 12, 2015 @ 3:18 pm

    Evy, very interesting thoughts. As far as to you question. I have compared past results with the current layout and it seems that in all cases Google just shaved off the bottom 4 results of the 7 pack and kept the top 3. I don’t think it is an algorithmic change.

    I would agree with you that this could be a push to use more Google Adwords. Silly Google, always finding ways to make more money.

  • M Andrew Eagar, August 12, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

    Greg, I love the strategy of including the phone number in the title of the business. unfortunately the Title isn’t shown in the new local pack, otherwise that would be a great transition.

  • kevin, August 12, 2015 @ 10:02 pm

    Google wants everyone to have the most user friendly sites but they don’t follow there own rules. Sad Day!

  • Greg Groenewald, August 12, 2015 @ 10:45 pm

    Hi , perhaps in the page description you could include the tel number, I know when I put in a page description for the sites I design I try to cram as much info as I can, as far as mobile goes, I don’t know.

  • Greg Groenewald, August 12, 2015 @ 10:48 pm

    I did not know that the title was also being done away with, if so, that would be a massive step backwards as this really helps the browser to call the company that they are looking for directly from the actual search. Maybe the page description would be an alternative?

  • Caz*, August 20, 2015 @ 12:58 am

    Well, now that I’ve used it, I think it is great. It is more mobile friendly. Previously, it had a phone # listed that wasn’t optimized to be clickable on every phone. Now, the number isn’t visible but a phone icon is. You just push the icon and call directly from the listing!!!

    Why do you think they went down to only 3 results though?

  • Jamison Michael Furr, August 20, 2015 @ 1:16 pm

    Oh well that’s not so bad then. Did they have that phone icon from day one, or is it possible they just added it after initial reactions?

    As far as the 3 thing – not super sure. I have two thoughts:
    1. I don’t think the theory that this is a ploy to get more money from AdWords is a bad one – definitely could be true.
    2. I’d like to know the stats on what % of users clicked on local results 4-7. Maybe it was like 1% of users so Google decided they weren’t necessary and cleaned up some clutter.

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