You’ve heard of 6-packs — as in soda or beer. But what about 7-packs, 5-packs and now local 3-packs? Is this the beverage industries attempt to get us drink more or to cut back? Not likely.
Pack refers to the grouping of results on a SERP. Specifically it refers to local businesses listings within a page of organic results. These packs have changed over the years as Google and other search engines have experimented with the number of listings in a pack. They have varied from one to ten results. You can stay up with the current changes for these packs on the Pikes Peak SEO blog.
Recently, 3-packs have been in the news as Google announced it was dropping its controversial Carousel in favor of local 3-packs. This solves two problems for Google. First the Carousel was never well liked, was limited, and awkwardly disconnected from the rest of the search results page. A 3-pack is also much more conducive to a mobile environment. (Yet another clue how much Google is betting on mobile going forward.)
Listings in a pack are not ads, but organic results that have been algorithmically ranked by the search engine. The new Google local 3-Pack results allows users to click on any of the three listings and are then taken to a new business profile page similar to what is seen in a Knowledge Graph panel. Information may include pricing, room availability for hotels, reviews, etc. A “more” link takes visitors to a more complete page of listings.
SEO for local continues to be a recurring theme. If you are not optimized for local search then you are losing critical ground to your competitors.