Friends, we now have a three pack, and this is both advantageous for some and disheartening for others.  For those that had their organics pushed down because of 7 local results showing up first for their given keywords, you’re probably thrilled that half of the search result page free up.  For those that were between 4-7 in their respective 7 packs, see ya later.

Though this is somewhat alarming, it is somewhat sensible to conclude the idea of the “top three” being included is fair.  The bottom results of the 7 pack were often a ways out from the centroid of the city, lower on the rating scale, and all around somewhat irrelevant compared to the top three (this is being concluded based on my pouring over hundreds if not thousands of 7 pack results over the past 3 years.)  But what is more startling than this refined local pack?

Google Search: “San Francisco Plumbers” (this has been uttered verbatim dozens of times in the past week).

sanfran-plumbersYou must be wondering “what in the hell are those results at the top?” and that’d be a good question, because this is now going to be what you have to look forward to in regards to PPC.  These local-centric Google Sponsored results are taking out the typical results that you can still see on the right side.  They pull in reviews, pull in a link to a profile, prepend “Connect with trusted and experienced professionals in your area” STRAIGHT FROM GOOGLE, and frankly hardly look like ads to me.  What’s worse, for such a local phrase, there isn’t a 7 pack, or even a 3 pack for this particular query. It is as if the whole idea of the local pack has been transmuted into another business venture Google will be easily capitalizing on in the very near future.

This also means that PPC is going to be more important than ever for those top 1-3 spots.  Everything we’ve known about the CTR of positions in 4-5 is going to be tested dramatically if these local-oriented ads take over most search results.  And witnessing the trajectory of how local positions and results have been evolving in recent months, it would be wise to embrace the fact this is likely going to happen.

I’m not into fear mongering by any means – this is simply notice for how the game is going to look within the next 3-6 months.  Want to get a jump start on taking advantage of this opportunity?  Give us a call or email us and we’ll arrange for a conversation at no charge on local strategy both organically and paid.