In an effort to improve the search results experience, Google has updated how search results appear. Until late last week, a local search would return what we call a “7-pack” of results. Now, the 7-pack is a 3-pack.

We’re seeing some inconsistencies in what this new search stack includes. Some listings are showing website links, while others are not, even those that are properly formatted.

Noticeably absent are the Google+ links. They won’t be missed.

Analysis: It’s now tougher for a local business to get noticed. Before, they had a 1 in 7 chance of being seen. Now, you gotta be at the top of your game to be included in the 3-pack of local search results. Sure, you can click on the “More” button to see more results, but the difference between being in the top 3 and being on the next page is significant.

Here’s the mobile results for a local search for “advertising agency” done in Bridgeport, CT:


Same search, this time on a laptop. Notice that a weblink also appears:

advertising agency - Google Search


This update will certainly drive more local businesses to AdWords. That’s their best bet for top-line search results.