Google my business major changes effecting local online searches

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We pride ourselves on being Saskatchewan’s experts when it comes to social media, local search and Google rankings for small local businesses . As such, we are always watching for shifts, changes and algorithm updates. We then use that information to improve the results of our social media management, marketing  and website design. In this blog we share why recent changes by Google on their Google My Business platform will have far reaching effects on local searches.

 

google my business

3 is the magic number. 

The first thing to note is the change to the number of local businesses that appear on local category searches. Prior to the recent changes, Google would list up to 7 local businesses in   the Google Places/Maps section ( depending on how many were in the category locally), this has now reduced to just 3. The Google listing section is above all of the organic search results and below the top 2-3 Google Adwords( if there are advertisers)- therefore prime spot on the 1st page of Google, which most consumers don’t go beyond!

Google my Business local search results

 

This listing also links to the map and allows consumer a simple click to call option along with driving directions when they are on mobile. All of these actions are tracked and available to the business owner via the Google My Business analytics data.  

On the ( Google ) plus side:

  • If you are one of the top 3 businesses displayed in your category you will have a huge advantage over any of your competitors who rank 4th or more.
  • This change means more organic search results on page 1 for direct links to websites. So if you were previously in the top 1/3 of page 2 with an organic search, you may now have made it to page 1! 
  • As the Google My Business map search results have more come to reflect the quality of the companies SEO, those local businesses who have been taking their online presence seriously and have already been recognized as the highest quality and most relevant in their category ( – not cheating, but investing time and money in a good website and SEO strategy to achieve results) will be rewarded. These companies will probably have two 1st page results for local category results as chances are they will be in the top 3 and be listed in the top organic websites results! 
  • Its not how long you’ve been in business or how ‘big’ you are that will influence your top 3 status, so those companies that are willing to do what needs to be done will oust the companies who are lazy or indifferent about these changes.

On the (Google) negative side: 

  • If you are not one of the top 3 you WILL miss out on many leads, especially on mobile and if you serve customers at your location. People on mobile that are Google searching are generally active buyers, looking for something right now, thats why the Google Places has the click to call / directions feature-  we can tell you from looking at our clients data that people use these features ALOT!  
  • Those that have big local marketing budgets / campaigns,  and those that have been around a long time and have a great reputation may not be effected as much as smaller, newer businesses. This is because they get people searching for them by name,  where their Google Places listing will come up on it’s own. The more people who search for them like this, then click on their Google Places listing will have a positive influence their Google Places ranking. So OFFLINE marketing can have a big impact on ONLINE search.  
  • Theres lots to know when it comes to enhancing your listing for best results.This includes the basic set up and verification, but it also now requires ongoing activity. Most small local businesses have no idea about all of this,  because of this their listing may start slipping further back and may end up being deleted all together by Google for being inactive!             

 Google My Business local search     

ITS NOT FAIR…Google doesn’t care!

Google rankings Saskatchewan You see Google doesn’t work for the local businesses, and doesn’t care if your business is not on the first page of searches for your category. Google works for the person searching, and her ( yes I say Google is a girl) job is to provide the most relevant, best quality search result for her CLIENT ( the searcher) based on HER quality measurement score.  As the head librarian of the internet,  she has a check list (an algorithm), so the 3 businesses that do the best job of ticking off everything on her list will be rewarded with the HUGE advantage of being the top 3 on Google Places!    

The Trusted advantage 

Trusted Saskatoon directory and Trusted Regina directory partners along with our Trusted Marketing clients have HUGE advantages. All Trusted directory partners are offered one on one and group training sessions as part of their Trusted partnership, we are there to guide them through the online marketing minefield. Our social media management team implement any and all changes for our social media management clients and we do whatever needs to be done to ensure all of our clients get every advantage online!  Contact us today if you want the Trusted advantage

Article written by Sara Wheelwright 

Owner of Trusted Marketing Services

Connect with her on Twitter: @Trustedcanada.com  &  Linkedin

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