Google Brings Back Local Phone Numbers
The Local 3-pack in Google Now Shows Phone Listings
In August, Google stopped showing the phone numbers of local businesses in the top section of desktop search results, known in the industry as the “local pack.” This week, however, the phone numbers are back. This means fewer clicks for users and potentially more calls to your business.
Whether you’re searching for hair stylists in your local area, plumbers, insurance brokers or a range of other products and service providers, you will now see:
- Business Name and Type
- Review stars
- Phone Number
We are excited about the change; as searchers we called the phone numbers right from the search engine results page often, and we bet many others do too.
The only potential downside is that when users have immediate access to your phone number right from the results page, you get fewer clicks and can’t track conversion. There’s no easy way to know where your potential customers got the number, making it harder to track your return on investment from digital marketing.
However, we know that actually getting more customers is more important than any other measurement. You can consider asking people how they found you to overcome the tracking issue.
We’ll keep an eye on the search engine pages to see whether these changes stick. If you see anything different going on in your local area, we would love to hear from you. Let us know by sending a note to your account manager or to our in-house news staff.
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More Changes in Google Maps
Adding the phone numbers back was just one change we saw from the world’s biggest search engine this week. In addition, the clickable maps got a makeover.
In some markets and for some industries, you’ll see new icons for shopping, eating, playing and lodging.
The change seems to be part of Google’s logo rebranding for simplicity, but we don’t know yet how it might change user behavior.
On a similar note, we’re seeing reports that Google made improvements to accuracy in voice search. It is said to be better at anticipating words and deciphering words spoken to it from background noise. The changes started in Google Search apps and aren’t yet showing up in mobile browsers.
Here’s an example of the new look in maps: