Google Introduces Local 2-Packs for Mobile Searches
After years of 3-packs dominating the local search landscape, some users can now see local 2-packs when searching on mobile. These 2-packs seem to show up for some users and vary from industry to industry. At the moment, we have not noticed 2-packs in the legal SEO space.
Below are some examples of what 2-packs may look like when conducting a mobile search. This is what a user may see if they searched ‘drug store’ or ‘dog groomer:’
Interestingly, the 2-pack results are not consistent across queries. This means that another mobile search for ‘drug store’ in a different location may result in the traditional 3-pack. As such, the 2-pack seems the be sporadic and location-specific. In some instances, Google may include an ad with two organic results to provide three total local listings, meaning that 2-packs can include advertisement
Are 2-Packs Just a Test?
Right now, we are not sure if these mobile 2-packs are here to stay. On the one hand, 2-packs are only showing up for a handful of queries and are not easily replicated. That sporadic nature, plus the fact that Google often tests new tweaks to the SERP, may suggest that 2-packs are temporary. On the other hand, these 2-packs are showing up throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This vast area may be too wide for a typical test. And lastly, the few queries that can even trigger a 2-pack could suggest that this is an industry-specific test, a hint at an oncoming rollout. Like many other features Google teases, we may not know for a while.
Will Google Upgrade to 2-Packs?
Ultimately, Google wants to provide the best results possible for its users. Since mobile searches constitute more on-the-go searches than desktop, factors like distance and direction directly impact consumer decisions. Having three listings can help searchers weigh these different factors to make a decision. Removing one listing limits the user’s options and readily available information. Given the importance of quick information, this could mean that providing three local results may be more beneficial to the consumer.
Regarding what is best for Google, however, mobile 2-packs may make more sense. With less prime real estate to make it onto the local search listing, more businesses may consider paid advertisements to earn position zero.
How Can Businesses Prepare for the 2-Pack?
Like many other local updates, Google recommends businesses ensure that the name, address, and phone number on their Google My Business (GMB) profiles are correct. You can check out our GMB overview for more information about setting up your GMB properly. You could also work to eliminate spam in your area, which can help open up spots in the 2-pack for your business to enter.
Additionally, you may want to explore options to “buy” your way into the 2-pack. As such, you may want to consider how cost-per-click (CPC) ads could benefit your digital marketing strategy.
Ultimately, we do not know if 2-packs will be a permanent change in the SERP. Still, businesses and digital marketing professionals should use this development as an additional incentive to boost their local online presence, maintain their NAPs and improve their websites. At the end of the day, preparing for the 2-pack can leave your business in a better position overall.