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Google’s Big Changes to Local Search

Google’s Big Changes to Local Search.

Googles organic results pages used to:

  • emphasise local search results with a number of useful details for searches.
  • Then find and contact local businesses directly.
  • Being organic results. These were free. No costs were passed onto businesses and consumers.

Google’s Big Changes to Local Search

But now these results listings have been modified and the result will make it more difficult to:

  • get your business listed prominently on a given search term, and
  • the listing removes the telephone number.
  • The results are less convenient requiring a click through.

Whereas the old SERP page showed 7 local business results.

It is now 3, and the Google+ page link has also gone. Not enough people wanted to engage with it when conducting search queries.

Local Search Results Page

As you can see from the image, the top 3 listings is a paid ad:

  • as are those on the right,
  • the box with the map and three boxes is organic,
  • as are the listings below it.
  • Now the phone number is omitted but the results do contain reviews information still.

A possible (probable) motivation for these changes is that Google wants to make the page more about paid ads in the most prominent (top) positions.

It clearly does increase the case for having a paid ad campaign running, as it is well established that the top two positions have most clicks.

Having a phone number rather than having to click through to the website to get this information was clearly competing with paid ads which had mobile ‘click to call’ buttons enabled.

So one major reason to not need a paid campaign has been effectively minimised by Google.

Those business that want to show on location specific searches would now:

  • be seriously encouraged to build an effective, efficient paid ad campaign.

Another factor appears to be that local search pages.

They are usually generated by putting “local” or a location term into the search box:

  • or “shops”, “businesses”,
  • generally will not generate shopping listing ads,
  • and instead generate the local results box, but not always.

If you put a more product related term in. You will often generate only shopping ads and not the local business search results box. Sometimes you will get both, as below;

Local Search Results Page for shops

You can see here:

  • that there are paid ads for shopping (product) ads on the right,
  • as well as organic local results in the middle.
  • This is for a search query of “raleigh bike shops”.
  • Put in “raleigh bike”, there is no organic local search results box at all;

raleigh search results

So here organic listings are going to generate very little presence even if you were at the top!

And if much of your business is through phone calls:

  • especially mobile phone calls,
  • then you could gain much more relevant engagement from a paid search campaign.

If you need any help with increasing your digital activities or more tips on Organic SEO or Pay Per Click advertising or on how to make more opportunities for your business, then please get in contact with us here at Network Intellect.

 Please get in contact with us here at Network Intellect

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