A few days ago, some SEOs started to suspect that Local Packs had disappeared from a lot of Google results:
I noticed today a bunch of keywords no longer show local packs and thought it was just me.
— Joy Hawkins (@JoyanneHawkins) October 26, 2022
We were curious if this was the case. We have certainly seen a lot of volatility in local search results over the past year. So we checked out our trusty Local-Pack-O-Meter, which tracks 60 million U.S. search queries each month (using Data By Traject). In theory, this should give us a good idea of what is going on at scale in Google’s SERPs.
Here’s what we see for October:
According to the Local Pack-O-Meter:
In October, 36.2% of tracked queries contained Local Packs
That’s down from 42.3% in August 2022, which was the high point in 2022 so far. May was the second highest month, with 40%.
So, if we believe this data, it suggests that while there has been a big drop in Local Packs (6.1% of billions of SERPs is a a big number), it actually may be that the level of Local Packs has been returned to a somewhat “normal” level. The average over the past 12 months is 37.4%.
Perhaps of more interest:
People Also Ask results have dropped dramatically, by ~50%:
There are many new SERP Features that we currently don’t track in this data, but given Google’s bad quarter, I wouldn’t be surprised if we also saw a big increase in various monetization features.
So what does this mean for SEOs?
Don’t be surprised if GBP click data is trending downwards.
Make sure you get a good handle on how much “local intent” there is in your SERPs. If the Local Packs have disappeared from a SERP, there’s a good chance Google has decided the query is more “national”, so you’ll need to adjust your SEO strategy.