Over the past several months Google has rolled out several different algorithm updates. The latest update saw a BIG change to how Google serves up local results.
Google Dropped From Showing 7 Local Listings to Just 3
In the past, if you did a search for restaurants or hardware stores, Google would serve up a nice collection of local establishments based on your current location–7 different options in fact. With this newest change, Google now displays only the top three results:
Some businesses will benefit, more will see a decline.
If you’re in that top 3 spot, you’re probably going to notice that traffic and phone calls will pick up a bit. Since there are only 3 listings now showing, the competition for traffic is weakened and you’ll benefit. But, if you were in that 4-7 spot in the past, be prepared for a decline in local traffic. Your listing is no longer prevalent and less people will click that “More” link to see additional local listings.
National review sites gaining in importance.
Another interesting thing to note is the listings under the local listings. When Google was displaying 7 local listings, national review sites were much lower on the list. Now, they are much more prominent and appear above the page fold. In the example above you’ll notice that the three top search results under the local listings are:
So not only are there less local listings, but more traffic is going to end up on review sites like these.
The key takeaway:
So what does this all mean for your business? It means you need to be more diligent with your online marketing efforts. Here are some specific tips to help:
- Claim your Google+/Google Local Page
Pages that are verified and updated will have a higher likelihood of displaying in local results. Claiming your page is free and we have put together detailed instructions on how to claim your Google Local page.
- Get more Google reviews.
Take a look at the picture above and focus on the top 3 local listings. In addition to being local restaurants that are close to our physical location, there is something else interesting. Each of the top 3 have a lot of reviews and a good rating. The #1 spot is held by a well regarded local restaurant with nearly 50 reviews. If you want to rank well in local search, you need reviews (here’s a process to get them).
- Improve your presence on third party sites.
As we noted before, since Google dropped 4 local listings from their results, sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and others are much more prominent. Similar to claiming your Google page, you can also claim pages on many of these sites (here is more information on that). Claim those pages and start building reviews. Similar to other search results, many of these third party sites will rank you higher with a higher frequency of reviews.
- (Warning: Shameless Plug…) Call BARQAR.
We specialize in helping businesses improve their online reputation, climb search rankings, and get more traffic. Contact us today at 1-888-576-6100 or request more information.