Local SearchMobile

A Guide to Google Mobile Local Pack Results

By March 30, 2015 March 3rd, 2022 7 Comments


Last week, Google pushed its new, blue mobile local pack (previously seen on Android and Google Now) to the iPhone. As the world and Google goes mobile (and local), it makes sense to detail and name the various local pack results that we are now seeing in the mobile environment. For the most part, there are direct desktop equivalents but there are some differences, as well. This post was inspired by some research that Dr. Pete Meyers is doing for Moz.

1.) The Standard 3-Pack

On the desktop it might show as a 7-pack (or 6, 5, 4, 3 or 2 pack), but in mobile it seems to almost always be just three. The mobile 3-pack is generated by a keyword search and is distinguished by only allowing click to call from the main screen. The descriptor “website” is indicative that the business has one, but it is not actively linked to the business website. Directions, reviews and the web URL can only be accessed by drilling into the listing. Ah, Google we got to love you. At least we can still call.

The standard 3 Pack.

The standard 3-pack.

2.) The Classic Local Pack

You don’t see many of these any more on keyword searches. Usually they present like above. This particular search is also in the food industry which normally presents the Local Stack. Hmm … it’s also a 4-pack, which is unusual, and offers ready access to click to call, directions and the website. Prior to last week, this style was the most common on the iPhone. This particular result may just be an anomaly. I am checking with the good Dr. Pete to see if he is seeing them with any frequency. I presume that it will disappear over time. Regardless, keyword searches used to look like this and, for the most part, they no longer do.


3.) The Branded 3-Pack (variation 1)

This is the direct equivalent of the Branded 3-pack on the desktop. It is returned for brand searches when there are multiple locations in the market. There are direct options for driving directions and click to call, but a click on the company name takes you to the Google Maps view, not the web site.

Photo Mar 26, 1 15 36 PM

4.) The Branded 3-Pack (variation 2)

This was spotted by Dr. Pete of Moz and, according to him, occurs on about 2% of mobile local pack results. I had never seen it before. It is characterized by a missing trade name and the address being linked to Maps. Otherwise, it is the same as the previous display.

Photo Mar 26, 2 06 49 PM

5.) The Local Stack (or Snack Pack)

This is the direct equivalent of the Local Stack (carousel replacement) on the desktop. It typically shows on entertainment, recreation, travel and food categories. And like the desktop, it offers the user NO significant information. To see hours, web URL, click to call or reviews it is necessary to click through to the Google page for the full mobile listing. If you are curious about the terms that trigger this display you can learn more here and here.

Photo Mar 26, 1 02 13 PM (1)

6.) The Local One Box

This is usually seen for brand match searches, but can occasionally be seen for keyword searches. It offers direct access to the business phone, directions and website but — unlike the desktop — it is necessary to click through to see reviews.

Photo Mar 26, 1 29 06 PM

I find that it is useful to catalog these displays so that, when the all-too-frequent changes occur, we have a solid baseline for comparison. With the ever-growing importance of mobile, these observations will help us better understand Google’s arc on phone browsers. As a note, it seems that Google Now on the iPhone and the regular display on Android precede the changes that take place on Chrome and Safari on the iPhone.

If you see other display types, either currently or in the future, please let me know.

(Compass image by Walt Stoneburner via Creative Commons.)

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  • Thomas says:

    Thank you for the information Mike. I am based in the UK so it may be a little while before we see these changes over here but they serve to underline the importance for businesses to get their Google Maps listings set up correctly. I am constantly amazed by the number of businesses that don’t even know about their Google Maps listing – about 40% of restaurants in a district near where I live had not even claimed their listings! And it can be some quite well established businesses that have ignored their local listings. Keep up the good work – I might share this article on my blog at http://www.mylocal.org.uk/blog.

  • Brian Barwig says:

    Great information here, Mike. Good detail in all of the research.

    I have a question regarding mobile optimized photos. Ive recently noticed photos, maps and the business name appearing in the SERPs – similar to your last photo in the Local One Box. How does Google determine which picture to show in the box? At times it is the Google Local page photo and other times it is the website photo.

    Is there a way to optimize which photo shows?

  • Mike Blumenthal says:

    Google is a bit of a PITA when it comes to which photo they show. Generally speaking in local they don’t like logos that much to show so usually what I do is:
    1- Make my profile photo a great product or location shot
    2- Make sure that that photo is also in the general photo area as the last image uploaded

    Part of the issue is picking a photo that they like. Which is a bit of a crap shoot but is doable.

    As a precaution, I make sure that all uploaded photos AND the cover photo are all of excellent caliper so if they don’t pick the one I want, I am not embarrassed.

  • Mike Blumenthal says:


    Can you send me screen shots from your mobile for keyword and branded searches?

  • Brian Barwig says:

    Responded with screenshots via Twitter, Mike.

    The picture of John is straight from his website, which is linked in his not fully optimized G+ page. The picture from Sean is from his fully optimized G+ page and shows his cover photo rather than his profile photo.

    Both G+ pages have their websites linked but Sean’s G+ is optimized with picture and cover photo. Google is taking the profile photo on John’s website and using it in mobile local and using the G+ cover photo in Sean’s mobile local. Seems backwards.

  • Mike Blumenthal says:


    Google will show the head of John because that is the only thing they have.

    Headshots are not their first choice and given an acceptable alternative they will take that.

  • Very interesting, I wonder how long will it take until everything will go mobile?

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