Have You Noticed This Big Change to Google’s Local Pack?

Since 2015, Google’s Local Map Pack has been a key feature located at the top of local search engine results pages (SERPs). But as time has progressed Google has started to accommodate new search features, such as generative AI, Google shop listings, video carousels, and more.

To get to the bottom of the local search speculation, our team has compiled a brief history of Google’s Local Map Pack, as well as what that means for your business in 2024, so read on to learn more!

So, Has the Local Pack Moved Down? A Timeline of the Events

The Earliest Sightings

Though there is no definitive date released, shifts in where Google’s Local Pack has been located can be recorded as early as October 2022. During this period, it can be said that Google was nearly experimenting with lowering the Local Pack, showing it located under paid listings, five organic search results, and relevant FAQs. The ranking of the Local Pack shifted dramatically during this time, and at certain points, the pack didn’t even show on the SERPs.

It’s important to note that during this time, the fluctuation of the Map Pack was mainly noticed on medical-related terms, such as “alcohol and drug addiction treatment,” “flu shot Atlanta, GA,” and “flu shot near me,” as well as on various dentistry and women’s health search terms.

Further Adjustments to the Map Pack Rankings

This theory has since resurfaced in May of 2023 when Joy Hawkins, the owner of Sterling Sky, commented on the shift in the Local Pack relating to personal injury lawyer terms in Philadelphia. Because of the change, as well as the unpredictability of where Google’s Local Map Pack may be listed for customers, it’s been recorded that there has also been a decrease in the amount of Google Business Profile phone calls and an increase in onsite phone calls from Google organic.

What’s important to mention is that though the Local Pack has been shifting on desktop, it seems that Google’s mobile Map Pack remained just below the paid listings during this time.

The State of Google’s Local Map Pack Today

As of 2024, the Local Pack continues to be lowered and deprioritized (shocker!). Though it was thought that they were lowering the Map Pack to make room for more Local Service Ads (LSAs), it seems that Google is trying to show some love to their organic search results once more.

With the rise of helpful, content-rich pages being valued by Google in 2024, there is finally a chance for you to grab the full attention of your target audience. That’s why our team advises focusing on these specific pages of your site:

  • Key service pages that focus on selling your offering
  • Communities pages, such as areas or neighborhoods you serve

Keep in mind that even though organic search may be taking priority in 2024, we still recommend properly maintaining your Google Business Profile, as it is still considered a ranking factor, and your profile can still be viewed in SERPs.

Real Life Example: Shifts for “CNC Machining”

To provide an example of how Google’s Local Pack has changed over the years, we’ve utilized Spyfu’s keyword cache tool to check the various Map Pack rankings. In this instance, we will use the term “CNC machining” to track the fluctuation.

2022

In 2022, the Local Pack for “CNC machining” is listed as the first search result.

local pack 2022

2023

This is when we start to see a slight shift in the Google Map Pack in 2023. Probably to accommodate Google’s recent rollout of the Helpful Content Update at the time, a featured snippet answering the question “What Is CNC Machining?” is listed in the first position, and the Map Pack is now much lower on the SERPs, around the 7th position:

local pack 2023

2024

As opposed to the previous two years, we see a dramatic change in the Local Map Pack when searching for “CNC machining.” After a mix of paid and organic listings, as well as a section for relevant FAQs, the Local Pack is, technically, located in the 6th position on the second page of Google:

local pack 2024What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Based on discourse online, there is speculation about the different factors that can affect the shift in where the local pack is listed on the SERPs, but ultimately, Google has not released a statement regarding these factors.

These Map Pack placement characteristics possibly include:

  • The day you make the search
  • Where you are searching from
  • The browser you’re using to search (mobile, desktop, etc.)
  • How you phrase the query

Though it can be argued that the shift in the Local Pack ranking can be a positive factor since it will eliminate the possibility of potential customers assessing other options before making a decision, this means that your company’s website is now more crucial than ever.

That’s why our team highly recommends doubling down on your company’s SEO initiatives, as well as investing in technical SEO adjustments to derive the highest conversion rate possible for your business.

Looking To Boost Your Business’s Local SEO?

If you’re looking to increase your local presence online, know that our team is here to provide the tools that you need to boost your business to new heights. So, check out some of our past blog posts covering local SEO and more:

Rachel Calvis

About the Author

Rachel Calvis

Rachel is an Online Marketing Specialist at Sixth City Marketing. Her main role is constructing and editing concise marketing copy for our B2B and B2C clients.

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