Imagine when local customers search for your products or services in your area. What happens? The cold hard fact is that 97% of people don’t go past the first page on a Google search. For a small business, being on that first page is like having air to breath. It’s vital. So here are 5 important things to know that can have a dramatic impact to increasing your business:
1) AdWords becomes more important.
Google recently has moved the map over to the right column, where paid ads typically appear. Those are now pushed down the page by a couple hundred pixels. This means Google will compensate by showing more paid ads in the middle column above the local listings.
Do I need to mention that these ads will be made even more prominent due to their display location in Google Instant Search?
2) AdWords gets more competitive.
Local businesses, finding that paid ads are now the most visible piece of screen real estate on local search results, will/should respond by spending even more money to show up in the pastel-colored AdWords display that’s smack-dab in the center of the page. This is exactly where the old 7-pack of local “Places” listings used to appear. AdWords visibility is, to some degree, replacing local listing visibility. Small business owners will fight for those coveted spots. (And Google will make lots of money in the process.)
3) Reviews and citations become more important/visible.
Not only is Google now showing how many reviews it has in its system, but it’s also featuring a variety of third-party sites (like Yelp, Insider Pages, etc.) and calling out exactly how many reviews are on those sites.
So Note-to-Self, “Get customers to write online reviews for business.”
4) Building out your Google Place Page becomes more important.
While paid ads will replace the 7-pack for a number of local search queries (see #2 above), in cases where paid ads don’t appear or when the searcher scrolls down to see local listings … wow, the new display is like having a mini-version of your Place Page right there for the world to see. No extra click needed.
Look at all the information showing for this result from a search for “chicago museums.” You’ve got the regular title and snippet listing, then from the Place Page you get a photo, address and phone information, a review snippet, links to additional reviews on third-party sites, star ratings on the right, an overall review count, and a link to the Place Page. Moral of the story: build out those Place Pages, and fast.
5) Local Results in the search result page becomes critical for local businesses.
The best way to make this concrete is to show the “before” and “after” pages.
Immediately below are two screenshots for the results to the query “San Francisco Dentist.” The first page below is an “old” SERP (search engine results page) with my annotations. Below AdWords comes the “7 Pack,” which is followed by mostly local web results. This was the “old” arena for third party local SEO.
Here’s the new page for the same local dentist query:
Visually the page has changed quite a bit. The map has been moved to the right column and “floats” or scrolls down the page as users move down results. The 7-Pack is gone, as mentioned, and a richer presentation of local results with images fills the entire SERP.
Section 1 Marketing is a Google AdWords Certified Partner. As a Google Certified Partner our goal is to get your business to come up on the first page of a Google search when a person is searching for your type of business in your local city or service region. If 97% of people don’t go past the first page on a Google search, where does that leave your website when someone is searching for your type of business? See how we can increase your businesses presence on the web by contacting Steve Leedom at 916-760-3949.