You are almost certainly familiar with the local pack in Google whether you know it or not. Up until this last month, it had 7 listings for local businesses. However, this last month Google dropped a bomb and changed it so that it only showed 3 results, versus 7, cutting of the leads for lots of local business owners.
Here is a before and after photo:
It doesn't just stop there however. A study featured on Search Engine Land reveals that beyond cutting down the number of businesses ranking in the local pack, they also are showing it higher up in the results! Here is what they had to say:
"The top spot now will show a local pack 93 percent of the time versus 25 percent of the time. And 99 percent of the time, you’d see it in the top two positions, a dramatic improvement versus 31 percent of the time."
That means if you want to show up #1 in Google, being in the local pack is now almost virtually required. If this doesn't fit into your strategy currently, you better start working on it.
Google’s New Local Pack Shows In The Number One Spot 93% Of The Time | Search Engine Land