Today at SMX, Google unofficially announced that the Local 3-Pack is going to start containing an ad soon. So the 3-Pack will effectively become two organic listings, plus one paid listing. Here’s what the current 3-Pack looks like on a desktop:
You can follow some discussions started by Joy Hawkins on the topic here:
It’s not clear on when this update will go live, but many experts have been predicting this change for some time.
What are some of the implications?
- It will be even more difficult to rank in the local pack. Only the top two businesses will get the coveted first page!
- You can be sure that your competitors are going to be investing in local SEO if they aren’t already
- If you haven’t already, it’s time to start investing in AdWords
As soon as Google makes an official announcement, you will be the first to know.