Updates to Google’s Local Search Results- Could this mean less visibility for your brand?
Google has made some changes that could affect your rankings in Google local search results. These Google search results are used when a user is searching from a specific location, Phoenix for example. The results we formerly saw in local search would include a list of 7 Phoenix businesses, but now 42% of the competition is vanished because Google recently released an update that only displays 3 business, a ‘local 3-pack’ in industry terms.
This major change in Google’s local search, rolled out Thursday, August 6th, has shaken up the SEO industry to figure out what this means for our SEO approach to ranking in local. Will this update affect your traffic and search visibility? We’ve broken down the technical lingo so you understand exactly what this could mean for your website traffic, and what changes may need to be made for a local SEO strategy.
What Changed in the Google Local Search Results?
To users searching on a mobile phone, the updates to may look the same, but as a desktop user, you may notice quite a few changes to the overall look and feel. The mobile results display just three business, whereas the desktop results pages could feature as many as 7 local businesses. Moving to this 3 business display will make it harder for businesses to rank for these top 3 search positions.
The new display is also simplified in the information it provides to the searcher. The new local 3-pack no longer displays a phone number or address in the listing, instead it only highlights the street name the business is located. On the upside, this could mean more website traffic because users will need to click through to the website for this information.
Although you might see less visibility in the search results in the new 3 display, they have made changes to the results page when clicking on a business. Now, clicking on a listing opens a new search in maps that also opens a list of 20 competitors. Google may have taken 4 spots from the local search results, but they have given a more complex map results page with 10 extra listing spaces.
The New Game Plan to Ranking Local Organically
Depending on where you ranked locally beforehand, this may be beneficial for your business with the new top 20 sites displayed on the map view. But what if you’re business was ranking locally in the top 3 results? These top 3 results are not displayed solely for the Phoenix location match, but it is dependant on the searcher’s IP address. So the two searchers on the same block could be seeing different results.
I know you’re probably thinking, ‘How can we get my business to stand out in a search results page of 20’? The answer, a properly filled out Google business page! This will display many things like store hours, business photos, reviews and contact information. With this update, Google has given a lot more real estate to the reviews for your business. So it is more important now, more than ever, to work with clients to get reviews. The more reviews you have, the more likely you’ll stand out among competitors.
There are a few technical elements not covered in this recap of Google’s new local update, but as the business owner these are the important elements you need to know, your local SEO company knows all the rest. At Local Work Marketing, we are dedicated to not only improving your SEO and search rankings, but helping you understand the ever changing online world. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have about the new update!