Late last year, Google changed the layout of their local search results. Previously displaying up to seven entries, Google now shows only three.
A local search result is one that appears directly below the paid adverts and before the normal search results. Typically, these results are shown with a map as per the example below.
This change is significant because with only three listings on offer, the demand for these listings is higher, generating greater desire and therefore more attention being steered to digital marketing strategies than ever before.
This change affects any business whose keywords show up as local search. If your business has a product or service which advertises a local area of service, considerations should be made as to how important it is to make it into one of these three spots.
Different to standard SEO, Local Search is governed by some extra considerations to the usual SEO rules:
More than just a backlink, Google uses citations (any website that lists your details) as a vote of confidence for your business and therefore a big tick to Google. This will increase your chances of making it to the local search listing.
Name, Address & Phone Number is Google referencing the NAP on your website and comparing it to other citations on websites that reference you. If they match, it’s another vote to you and your local search chances increase further. If they don’t match, Google gets more confused than Bruce Jenner’s Olympic team mates at their 43 year reunion.
Local search results can also rely on reviews. A good review on Google+ (you know, that social media platform no-one except Google uses) or other accepted review platforms are one of the best ‘votes’ your business can obtain to help with local search listings. These votes are weighted far more by Google than just citations alone.
Page Layout & UX
Good page layout and user experience (UX) also plays a role for local search results. If your NAP is easy to locate and contains directions and even a Google Map, more Google ‘votes’ will be coming your way.
Of course, a Digital Marketing Strategy needs to address far more than just a couple of basic search parameters. The Digital Embassy’s Digital Marketing Analysts are happy to sit down and discuss your business’s individual needs and tailor a solution to help get you started or audit, review and recommend where you might be falling short with your SEO – local and broader. Begin a conversation here.