At the end of March, Google launched an initiative to increase the amount of businesses online through a campaign called “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map”. The campaign focused on increasing the amount of local listings for 30,000 cities, therefore helping stimulate the local economies, and put the onus on the business owner to utilize a city-specific website filled with resources and tools to help get their business into Google’s local listings.
As a Google Partner, they even sent us some nice promotional materials and two pull-up banners to display in our office to promote it.
This was and is a great idea.
Fast forward to the beginning of August and Google made another big and rather bold decision. Local listings went from 7 business listings (7-pack) to 3 listings (3-pack or snack pack as it’s known) on desktop for all users. I, personally, think this is a great idea because it adds more room above the fold for non-local organic listings. With that being said, it’s a little puzzling that Google would launch this huge campaign to have local businesses add their information to improve their visibility and then decrease the visibility of virtually all listings overall by a large margin.
Of course, Google didn’t make this change to spite local business owners (at least not directly), instead they are looking to consolidate the user experience between their desktop and mobile outputs as mobile has been, is and is continuing to make its mark as the premier way to surf the internet.