I’m sick and I just got done making my annual pumpkin pie, so this Thanksgiving Eve I am on the computer. I was doing some poking around at one of the niches I monitor and the change happened literally around 9PM ET 11/22/2017. No, it isn’t the cough medicine, Google made a big change to a search term which used to produce a local pack.

Yesterday, before the change took place, this is what a local pack result looked like for “Sacrmaento Car Accident Lawyer”:

“Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer” search result November 21, 2017.

Today, this is what the result is for “Sacrmaento Car Accident Lawyer”:

“Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer” search result November 22, 2017.

Expect change!

I was just telling a personal injury attorney client earlier today that Google giveth, and Google taketh away. Expect the unexpected. Google just made a gigantic change this week which will have a tremendous impact on Amazon’s organic search results, just as they started their Black Friday Week. Intentional? Hmm.. Google also loves making changes on Thanksgiving Eve. In 2016 I happened to discover the the new “Top Stories” change on Thanksgiving Eve.

Google has been playing with this.

I have seen the change for “motorcycle accident lawyer” search phrases for quite some time in some cities:

Chicago Motorcycle Accident Search Result with a Featured Snippet

The change is worldwide

In some cases, Google does a test. This could be permanent. The change is live in niches I follow in the United States, Australia and in the United Kingdom.

Some cities are getting Featured Snippets (Answer Boxes):

I am wrapping up a huge, ultimate resource for answer boxes which I will link to here so you can compete for an answer box too. To make a long story short, the local pack is gone and organic results are here. In organic results, there may or may not be an answer box, depending on several variables.

Here are what some of the search results look like:

With a Featured Snippet:

Raleigh Car Accident Lawyer with a Featured Snippet

Without a Featured Snippet (Organic results only):

No Featured Snippet, just organic results for Los Angeles.

Advice moving forward

A lot of law firms take the 3 pack very seriously as well as the term “Car Accident Lawyer”. In fact, in many cities to bid on the term “Car Accident Lawyer” in Google AdWords you’re looking at $100 – $190 per click. But, that is a BIDDING process, and just because a few other people in your area have driven up the cost of this key phrase does not necessarily make it that valuable.

I’ve analyzed the traffic and sat down with plenty of non-lawyers and asked them to perform a search. I say “Let’s pretend you were injured and the insurance company isn’t paying you what you should – what would you search for?” Believe it or not, I have yet to find someone to type in “Car Accident Lawyer”.

Don’t get me wrong, ranking for “Car Accident Lawyer” is valuable. However, just showing up on page 1 puts you in search results for a very wide variety of long tail search results. Not having the top spot is not the end of the world. I hear you: I had a brick and mortar business for 13 years and dealt with the fluctuations the entire time. But with a good content strategy, this is just one of thousands of terms which could end up with a new injured client retaining you.

And, as stated above, this could all change tomorrow. In fact, it is estimated that Google makes over 1,500 changes to search results every year.


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