The BIG Change

For every small business owner, to have a strong presence online can be the variance between rolling in it and having to close up the shop. The Google’s Local Search has undergone a lot of updates over a period of time and most of us have to clamber periodically to understand how our business can take advantage from these changes. If you noticed that Google has substituted yellow pages and all else when it comes to generating more phone calls. If we get our local business in the top 3 in the Google searches, there is a big chance that we double or triple their business by about 90+% of the time. Not being listed in the top 3 is a different story. Nothing is more important for a local business than to be listed on the top 3 in the local search of Google.

Last August 7, 2015, the Google’s search results have taken a bad turn. If you notice in the previous search results, it displayed different features like the following:

  • Business name
  • Business website
  • Star rating and reviews
  • Local teardrops that is labeled from A-G
  • Top 7 businesses for a local search

But just recently, a new update from Google was making a huge impact on the local search engine results page (SERP) and if you notice closely, only displays a “3 pack” of the top local businesses instead of the “7 pack”.

So what will become of those businesses that were on the top 7, but not on the top 3? Well, there is a big chance that these businesses will see a drop in phone calls and sales that could lead to a loss in profits.

For the “3 pack”, businesses that are in the top 3 position can greatly benefit from it. And those users that want to look for the

 rest of the businesses that rank below the top 3, they have to go below the top 3 and click a link that leads them to a separate page. So if your business is not on the top 3, chances are they search results will decrease by more than 50%. The drop can cause a lot of money and you really need to find ways to get your business survive in this new Google update.

What may seem daunting to most businesses in this new “3 pack” Google local search update may not be as daunting as it looks. There are solutions to solve this Google update issues and it takes a thorough understanding from a seasoned Marketer of how the Google search engine works. The key to combating the negative effects of the Google’s update is SEO with proven marketing tactics. Those that are getting fine with implementing basic SEO tactics before may no longer work for your business in this new update. Everyone is forced to put in a little more work to raise the rankings in the new “3 pack” of Google’s local search to be able to be in the top 3.

Important Strategies to Increase Your Business’ Local SEO

  • Google+ page needs to be optimized properly
    • Make sure that all categories chosen are related to your company or industry
    • Your map is correct and displays the correct information such as the name, address and phone number
    • Add the description of your company
    • Photos can add uniqueness and attracts viewers

  • Make sure that you have more local listings than your competitor
    • If your competitor has more listings than your business, then they are more likely shown than yours
  • Make sure that your listing is of high quality
    • Google, Bing, Yahoo, Manta, Truelocal, Facebook and Citysearch among the high quality directories or business listings
  • Raise your website’s authority
  • Consistency with your business’ name, address and phone number (NAP) not just in Google listing, but in all other platforms.
    • Say if your business address in Google listing is written with Ave., then make sure you also add that in the rest of your online listings.
  • Social Engagements
    • You need to get people or your clients to leave reviews on your Google+ page, Yelp, Facebook and other platforms that has your listings
    • Create or start a discussion with the people on your listings or posts

The Good News

Based on a recent article regarding Google’s August 7, 2015 update may be able to bring some advantage to small businesses after all. Comparing it to the previous “7 pack”, it only shows up in the number 1 spot 25% of the time in the web search, while the local “3 pack” shows up 93% of the time in the number 1 spot on a web search. Being able to implement effective marketing and local SEO strategy can be a real challenge plus the added pressure of worrying about your business; and to be able to juggle both can be overpowering. So when you choose an SEO partner, you need to find one that has a proven track record, able to provide references and be able to answer their phone. They should also be able to provide a regular update report on the progress of your campaigns.

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