Changes to Google’s Local Pack Will Increase Competition among Apartment Communities

September 25, 2015 | by:

They say that seven is a lucky number, but it seems as though Google doesn’t agree.

Last month, the leader in search dropped the number of business listings in its "local pack" to three, when it had previously been set to seven. Google has also modified the information included in the local pack. Here’s a quick look at what else has changed:

Phone Numbers Are No Longer Present

Local pack listings had previously displayed business phone numbers under the respective business’s listing, and occassionally, they still do, as in the example above. More often than not, however, desktop users must now click on the listing to see this contact information. Mobile users have the option to call the business from the listing directly, though the number itself is not displayed.

Complete Addresses Are Missing

Phone numbers are not the only things that have vanished from the local pack. Complete addresses are gone, as well. Although local pack still displays a partial address, the precise location is not included.

Reviews No Longer Clearly Designated as "Google Reviews"

In a move that may have been enacted to save space on smaller screens, Google has discontinued labeling Google Reviews with its brand name. This could be helpful for online reputation management tactics, as it effectively creates a bit of review ambiguity. Consumers who ignored Google Reviews in the past may no longer be aware that they’re reading a Google Review, and may be inclined to trust it more.

Operating Hours Added

Although the local pack update removed a few things, it added some new features as well. Business hours, for example, are now displayed in the local pack under business names. We should note that this is not the case in all instances, and it seems as though hours are only displayed when a business is closed or is approaching closing or opening times.

What Does This All Mean for Apartment Marketing?

Google’s local pack listings display at the top of search, so it’s good to rank within the pack. Now that the search engine has limited the number of listings to three businesses instead of seven, it’s more important than ever for apartment communities to verify their Google My Business listings and focus on their search engine optimization strategies.

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