Looks like Google started combining knowledge panels and local packs in mobile search results for businesses that have a knowledge panel displayed for their brand name search and local presence in the user’s area.
The new pack has 2 tabs – “Locations” and “About”. “Locations” tab shows a local pack, and “About” tab shows knowledge panel information. Knowledge Panels are not displayed when the new packs are present in SERPs.
Another notable difference from the old local pack is the entity name header.
This change seems to make sense for most queries I can think of as most people are probably looking for location information when searching for entity names on their mobile phones (when there are relevant locations in their area), and Knowledge Panels probably get fewer clicks. Also, this change is aligned with Google’s more and more frequent use of tabs to use the SERP real estate more efficiently.
However, sometimes knowledge panels that are combined into local packs do not seem to be the most obvious and helpful choice.
For example, “University of Toronto” query returns UofT locations’ details in the local pack, and University of Toronto Press “about” information.
Another odd example is this pack that is displayed for “Honda” searches in my area:
This pack is interesting for the following reasons:
1) Most car brand searches do not seem to return the new pack (perhaps the association between local dealers and the manufacturers is not that strong because dealers usually have different names). In fact, Honda is the only auto brand I was able to trigger the new pack for in Toronto;
2) This is the only pack that I saw that has 3 tabs – “Locations”; “Posts”; and “About”.
The “locations” tab displays different car dealers’ locations; the “about” tab contains manufacturer’s information; and the “posts” tab has a car dealer’s post, which must be very frustrating for this dealer’s competitors as all dealers are privately owned, and this lucky one is getting a lot more exposure.
3) The “Posts” tab seems to have disappeared from the pack shortly after I took the screenshots.
I believe the new pack has been rolled out, although it’s possible that it’s still a test.