Google started testing a very scaled back version of the local pack in the US. Instead of the seven-packs we’re used to seeing in Australia, there are just three listings displayed in that space, and they do not show a phone number, suburb nor a link to your website. In stead it shows only business name, reviews, business category, street address and profile photo. Interestingly, it only seems to be displaying that way in selected larger metro areas.
If this is a sign of things to come in Australia, it’s critical you get ahead of the game and make sure your business is listed in the top 3 of the local pack.
The thinking is this in part to allow Google to better track who’s calling your business by forcing people to click on the entry.
It will be interesting to see if this experiment works – I suspect this is will push people back to organic and force more local businesses to resort to adwords (another suspected motive behind the change).
Apple signs deal with large local marketing agencies. This indicates Apple has realised maintaining and managing local business listings is a huge drain on resources. While this will probably be good for the US. However I fear if Apple decides to partner with the biggest player here, they’ll end up with the same mess for local that Google has. Garbage in, garbage out…