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What Businesses Need to Know about Google’s Changed Local Search Display

local_search_displayPhoto: A search made for local shoe stores in Tampa. Yellow: paid placement, Blue: Local Results, Green: Organic Results.

The value of local search stepped up its game recently as Google unveiled a new local search display format that presents both new challenges and opportunities to advertisers and small businesses.

It was so subtle that perhaps you didn’t even notice it.

Rather than displaying as many as 7 local results in a single SERP (search engine page result), the new display format now shows the first 3 results with an option to view 4-7, but that requires an extra step now. It also displays a prominent, detailed map above the local results. What’s more, is the new three-pack doesn’t show physical addresses or phone numbers, only a “Call” button on mobile devices.

What this means is that unless you’re in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position on local search, your business won’t be visibly listed unless the user clicks on the “more” button. What this also means is that businesses listed beyond the 3rd result are going to get far fewer phone calls, and an almost-certain drop in website traffic.

Paid advertising won’t likely face any repercussions of the change. However, the impact on organic search may be more significant. With 3 local results pushing down the organic, the competition to claim the organic space will likely increase. In some searches, the organic results aren’t even visible without scrolling down on the page.  

If you look at the image in this article searching locally for shoe stores, below the local results are only 2 organic results. Just like it was recently voted, local search results are one of the most powerful channels for local businesses in getting calls, sales, and ultimately – customers.

The increased demand for this space on the page means that the value of directories, positive reviews about your business, and website optimization are as important as ever.

If you’ve been effected by the Google local search display change, contact an SEO specialist at Absolute Marketing Solutions today.

Alfred Goldberg

Co-founder and President of American Operations at Absolute Marketing Solutions. Alfred Goldberg has over 15 years of experience as a small business owner and is one of two individuals in Florida to hold the distinction of being a Mobile Marketing Association Certified Mobile Marketer.

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