For some time now Google’s local search results have stuck with a standard format of display results either in a 7-pack, 3-pack or 1-pack. The number of results displaying was determined by Google’s algorithm. However, if you have not noticed already several weeks ago this standard of formatting changed and we noticed and so have many other local search experts that the number of 7-packs significantly dropped. What has started replacing the common 7-packs are 4-packs, 5-pack and on occasion a 6-pack. This was frustrating for people rankings in the 5, 6 and 7 positions because if the search they were ranking for is now only a 4 pack then they are no longer displaying on the first page of results.
Although, one can see the reasoning for Google making this change and cutting out the majority of the 7-packs. Not only do they take up a considerable amount of real estate on the first page of results. When looking at research that has been published regarding where users actually click on the first page of results. Only a fraction of people are actually clicking on the 5th, 6th and 7th position results. Not very many people are even clicking on the 3rd or 4th results for that matter. So looking at the results from a statistical standpoint there is no real need for the seven pack. However, this change is not necessarily surprising. Google is always trying to constantly update both their algorithm and stay ahead of the curve so they can continue to generate more relevant results for the user doing the search. We will continue to monitor how this new format effect the results, check back soon for more local search news and update.
Here is an example of a 4- pack for the search: “Painter Oceanside”