As many of you are aware google has been talking about changing both Google Places as well as Google +. No one knew exactly what changes were going to take place nor did anyone really know when these changes would take place. Well early last week Google changed the way local results were displayed. Before the results would show 7 listings for local businesses and would include their address and phone numbers. Now Google is only displaying three results and have removed the phone numbers of these businesses.
What does this mean to you, the brick and mortar business owner? If you, in the past, had focused your Search Engine Optimization efforts on this local SEO service you more than likely no longer come up on the first page. More than likely you still are on the maps portion however you may not be displayed in what is now being referred to as the three pack. Most of us small business owners had not focused on Google Maps placement as it was never a real priority to users so therefore not to businesses as well. The result of losing these Google Places rankings can be devastating to a small business. Overall there is some fantastic information out that you may find helpful. If you are interested to read the full article I refer to here is a link to Casey Meraz’s article.
We are being asked why this change was made and no one knows exactly why Google decided now was the time to kill google + for businesses and change from the 7 pack display to the 3 pack but they did. If I had to throw and educated guess out it would be this. Over the past ten years’ consumers have become more and more intelligent in the way we search and the results we click on. Throughout this time Google has watched the ads become less and less effective as the users become more aware of them and less inclined to click on them. In Casey Meraz’s article with this change you can clearly see that this change has impacted what people are clicking on.
Below is an image provided in his Article:
I for one believe Google did this to help bolster the click through rate of customers Pay-Per-Click campaigns. Before this industry averages were around 1.7% for PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns. Here is a breakdown of where people are clicking on the page:
When you are obtaining business from things like google places, and had become reliant on this search result to drive traffic to their site a change like this one can deeply impact your business. Additional traffic, as you know, equals additional revenue for your business. So what should you and your marketing team or SEO Company be focusing on to improve your chances of being in the three pack results not provided by Google? This is the million-dollar question! We at Black Box Consulting Still feel strongly that after some time and adjustment and education the consumer will go back to clicking on the organic links far more than any ad link. Only time will tell and if this is not what happens then there maybe reason to try PPC again if it’s affordable to go along with your Search Engine Optimization efforts. Please feel free to tell us what you think or if you have questions. We are here to help, thanks for reading…