Google Now Testing New Local 3-Pack Format - Piranha Digital

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Google Now Testing New Local 3-Pack Format

By piranha

6th December 2016

This week, Google has begun testing a new way of displaying search results on desktop. For a while now we’ve become used to seeing a pack of 3 local companies displayed below the Google Ads on any search.

For instance, if we search for ‘TV repair’:

Beneath the paid Ad, we can see 3 local TV repair companies taken from Google’s knowledge of the searcher’s location.

The new method of displaying search results – such as the ones for the search ‘fish and chips’ below – inserts 3 ‘Top stories’ articles after the Google Ads and before the Local 3-Pack:

As The SEM Post’s Jennifer Slegg points out in a recent article, Google has been morphing its desktop search results in recent years to more closely imitate its mobile results. This recent development represents another step closer to achieving that goal.

What does this mean for digital marketing and SEO?

Inserting another element to the search results naturally moves everything below it further down. This means that in Google’s recent tests, search results now read in the following order;

  • Paid-for Google Ads
  • 3 ‘Top stories’ of related content
  • 3 Local companies or services based on the searcher’s location
  • Organic search results

Organic search results were once held as the golden standard of SEO and were the goal everyone was working towards. But as we can see here, there are 3 criteria now automatically given a greater precedent than organic results.

At Piranha, we are experienced in optimising websites towards all 4 of these criteria and we regularly plan and implement work on local citations and PPC campaigns for our SEO clients. Although organic results remain an important factor in gaining traffic online, businesses in all sectors will benefit from exercising greater marketing flexibility.

With Google experimenting in this way, it’s become more important than ever to have a diverse digital marketing plan geared towards all aspects of modern SEO.

To see how we can help you build your online presence and give your business the best chance to grow, please email us at or call us on 01772 888331

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