That tremor felt throughout the SEO world in early August may not have been as earth-shaking as Google’s spring Mobilegeddon update, but the latest change in local search results still set the industry abuzz. The Google “local pack” that used to show the top seven results was downsized to display only three, even when the search is conducted on a desktop computer.
In addition to showing fewer business listings, the new local pack — dubbed a “snack pack” by some observers — was also redesigned to resemble the mobile interface, which makes sense considering that mobile search surpassed desktop earlier this year. So what does that mean for companies in the fourth through seventh positions that dropped out of the featured box? Don’t panic yet.
What Will Happen to My Ranking?
Although it may seem like a lost opportunity, Google assures us that the top three local-pack positions already were getting the vast majority of clicks from users, so you’re probably not missing much. And there are other ways to rise in the rankings. Here are some useful tips from The Web Guys to help your business improve its position on search results pages:
- Get Reviews: Encouraging customers to write online reviews can give a business’ reputation a boost. The local pack now features shortened addresses to eliminate cities and states, but the star ratings from Google reviews and business phone numbers still show up. Generating good reviews can help a local business stand out from the competition.
- Go Premium: Although Google’s home service ads are still in the testing phase, they may be a viable option for those businesses that were ousted. These ads have a similar appearance to the local packs, but they are sponsored results. One caveat, though: Home service ads are available only for particular industry niches, such as plumbers, locksmiths, and electricians — at least for now.
- Stay Traditional: Local packs may be helpful to users searching on Google, but it’s hardly the only factor that goes into creating a strong local presence. Striking website designs and effective digital marketing strategies are the best ways to keep your business well-positioned for Google search results.
What are your thoughts on Google’s three-pack? Share your opinion in the comments below.
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*Unfortunately, no pizzas were eaten during the making of this post.