Google’s local search results had, yet another, major change take place on August 6th. The way that local businesses used to appear in search results will now have a completely different look and feel. The previous way the results displayed for local businesses in search results was known as the “local 7-pack.” The pack consisted of seven local businesses featured prominently near the top of the search results page. Now Google’s replacement of this pack is being called, the “local 3-pack.” The gasps are almost audible, I can imagine. Local business owners are sure to be concerned about how this will affect their SEO as well as their bottom line.
So, let’s get right down to it, how will this change affect you and your business? Many leading experts in the SEO industry seem to be quite shaken up by ideas and opinions regarding how the change will impact local visibility as well as traffic. Below is a scaled down guide to give local business owners some comfort and reassurance about the changes, and possibly even some ideas about how to use the change to your advantage.
Major Aspects of the Change
The old Google Search Results Page offered an area in which seven local business could be visibly seen along with their contact information. The new local search results are limited to three businesses only and provides no contact information. This is huge, in that searchers will now have to click more than once to immediately contact your business.
But this could be a good thing considering there are only three spots available and if your business doesn’t land in them, you will want the consumer to have to click through for contact info as a list of 20 competitors shows up along with the contact information. Therefore, in that list of 20 your business is more likely to appear.
What is important to know is that the top three results are in rotation and also vary depending on your physical location. So for example, one customer ten miles away from your business may not get you in their top three search results, but a customer a mile away in the other direction just might see your business in their results.
How Do These Aspects Actually Affect Me
As I mentioned, the fact that the list went from seven to three creates an immediate panic among local business owners who rely on getting business from those local search results. But, never free, because the contact information for all of the business landing in the top three results can only be contacted by way of the 20 results page, in which your business is sure to be listed.
Now that your business will be listed among a list of 20 competitors, you are going to have to look at how to make yourself stand out. In the old local search results you were only competing with six other businesses. Now that the ante is upped, you are going to need to make your business the one that people want to choose.
Tips on Tweaking Your SEO Agenda
Keep in mind, good old-fashioned SEO strategies still serve their purpose and with good reason. Remember this change was not an algorithm change, so your previous SEO strategies should remain in place. The only thing you need to do with them is to make sure you stay on top of the cutting edge changes that are released from time to time.
What you can do regarding this new local results change is consider updating your snippet and making it more compelling. If you haven’t already, add pictures to your snippet, and keep them relevant. Make sure all your information is up-to-date. And do some research, search your product or service and take a look at the 20 businesses results page. What are your competitors doing? Can you do it better?
Make sure your Google Business Page is up to date and optimized, this is important because most of the information that the local business card, Google creates for you, is pulled from this page. If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business listing, then you should stop reading his now and go claim it, then come back and finish.
Make sure you fill out the page completely, no detail is too minor. Concentrate on your description, categories, high res images, and consistency with your physical address throughout your internet postings. The local business card is basically your first representation of your business while standing up next to 19 other competitors, so make it count.
Another important aspect related to reviews is being listed with online directories that relate to your business. These directories will list your business and give customers an opportunity to review your business, which means potential customers also have an opportunity to read these raving reviews and choose your business over the others.
Finally, reviews make all the difference, you want to have the best rating you possibly can. Believe it or not customers look at this. They are looking at how many stars your business has and they are taking it seriously. If you rating is too few stars, then you are likely not going to get their business.
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