Big changes at Google have arrived. Google is constantly tweaking their search engine results layout and this is a biggie and will have a big impact on searches performed for local businesses.
When performing a search in Google, many local businesses appeared in the Google Local Listings, denoted by letters, pin points and a map. Those listings typically included the 7 local businesses. Google has switched that up, now including only 3…but allowing those 3 to take up the same real estate as the 7 before and moving the map from the right column, to right above the listings. The listings themselves now have more expanded information available and is easier to read.
So what does this mean? It means if you weren’t putting a lot of effort into Local SEO, you will see less phone calls and web traffic for sure. And since the format still takes up the same amount of space, Organic SEO isn’t going to help correct this either.
On the flip side, if you are mastering Local SEO, expect to see an increase in phone calls and web traffic.
The word from Google:
We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users. This update provides people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews and prices, for searches that have multiple results for a given location.
So what to do? Well it leaves two solid options. The first is obvious…increase your attention to Local SEO. Local SEO and Organic SEO are different, and neither lives within a vacuum. If you are not concentrating on those techniques and Local SEO best practices, you will see less exposure in Google. The second option is a little less obvious, but this is a subtle approach by Google to push people to use Google Adwords as they are unaffected by this change and still remain positioned above the local listings…but that of course only applied to those Adwords Ads which appear in Positions 1 thru 3….which require a well oiled Adwords campaign to achieve on a consistent basis.
So if you aren’t keeping up with your Adwords, Local SEO and Organic SEO…more negative effects for your website are coming. Make some changes now!