On August 6th, Google implemented major changes affecting how local businesses are listed in online search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge part of establishing an online presence for a business and these changes may affect how often searchers see your business listed on a search results page. When searchers use Google to search a keyword related to a particular business, Google provides a list of businesses for the searcher to view. From there, the searcher decides on which business to select.
What exactly has changed and how will it affect your local business?
In the past, Google’s results generated a list of seven different businesses, along with helpful information such as the business’s phone number, address, and business page access link. The new change narrows the list of results down to only three businesses, instead of seven, and does not include the helpful information section anymore. Instead, searchers will be required to switch to the maps view to access contact information for your business, along with a list of nearly 20 other local businesses and their contact information. Regardless, even if your business was not listed in the initial top three results, you still have a good chance of being noticed, once the searcher switches to the map view.
What does this mean for your SEO strategy? The top three results, referred to as the local pack, will appear in a rotation, according to the searcher’s location. So much so that even neighbors searching for the same keyword could generate different local packs. Therefore, do not get caught up in your ranking report. It is likely that your business is still showing up in the local pack for most searchers, even if your ranking report reflects otherwise.
What happens if a searcher spots your business in the local pack, then is exposed to numerous other companies, your competitors, when switching to map mode to view your contact information? Simple! We design a more compelling snippet for searchers to see. By this we ensure your business information is filled out properly and use high-resolution photographs for your snippet. Other ways to help are to generate Google+ reviews and ensure the accuracy of your listing.
Also, be sure to check the Top 20 map. Experiments showed that regardless of the searcher’s location in a local area, the Top 20 map still generated nearly the same results every time. Depending on where your business ranks among the Top 20, your SEO strategy may need to be adjusted to increase your chance of showing up in the local pack results.
As you can see, SEO is not for the faint of heart, which is why Bryant Consultants takes the guesswork out of it for you. We specialize in website SEO to help take your business to the next level and can also help you establish a social media presence with our social media management tools and techniques.