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Understand Google Local Updates | Outreach Strategic Marketing – Winston Salem SEO Firm

Understand how Google Local updates affect organic search results| Outreach Strategic Marketing – Winston Salem SEO Firm

Ch-ch-ch-changes. You may have noticed that Google has introduced a new look to their search engine results pages. The biggest, boldest change is the number of businesses displayed but there are a number of other changes in the mix.

While we used to see a “7 pack” of local businesses listed, now the big G is only showing three business listings. That’s right, we’re down to three. This means your desktop search looks much like your mobile search where three listings fit perfectly on the mobile screen. It also means the battle for top rankings just seriously heated up.

Other differences we’ve noticed for many, though not necessarily all, listings:

  • phone numbers and precise address (street numbers are missing) are no longer shown. You have to click on the listing to access an expanded results page that some are calling “Local Finder”. On this page, you’ll see 20 listings per page along with their expanded information like phone number, precise address, images and review content.
  • clicking the business name now takes you to another Google page instead of the business’s independent website.
  • Google+ links are missing. It appears Google is cutting ties with Google+. In her Aug 17 post, Jennifer Slegg shares, “For now, it will still be important for local businesses to claim their profile pages. We are still seeing links to the Google+ profile page when those businesses come up in the regular organic search results, even if they have been removed from the local 3-pack.” https://moz.com/blog/google-local-snack-pack-shakeup
  • For many restaurant searches, Google now offers an option to filter businesses by cuisine, price, hours and, most importantly, ratings. If they’re showing this for restaurants now, it may be only a matter of time before we see these types of filter choices in other categories. If your business already has a nice compilation of reviews and your overall rating is four stars or higher, you should fare pretty well. If you’re not there yet, it would be a smart move.
  • With all the shake-up in the SERP display, they’ve chosen not to implement an algorithm change. That’s certainly good news for businesses that have their digital house in order!

  • It’s also worth noting that Google is testing home service ads in the San Francisco area for plumbers and locksmiths. We’re all accustomed to seeing that little gold box that alerts us to the presence of an ad. Well, that’s been replaced, at least for the time being in the test, with a little gray circle. It’s subtle and understated and looks an awful lot like organic results. Imagine how that could appeal to (and confuse?) those of us who resist the thought of being “sold to” through ads.
    Why are they testing this? Google has invested $100 million in Thumbtack, built out their own platform and sees that Amazon Home Services has recently launched. They want their share of the home services pie.

    Given the amount of change in the display information, conclusions from previous studies on user interaction and clickthru studies may not carry much weight now. As usual, it’s important to stay informed and monitor what is actually happening with your business online. Time will tell what the user experience will be like and, likely, Google will change it all up again. Contact Outreach Strategic Marketing if you need help understanding your online profile. We are your Winston Salem SEO Firm of choice covering the Carolinas.


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