Search result adjustments in algorithms and displays are pretty much the norm these days from Google. "They [Google] are on a mission to build the purest, most relevant set of search results for every individual search," said Wesley Farnam, chief digital strategist at The Idea People. "The latest Google search element to receive the 'treatment' is Google Local." Our take on the impact of Google Local search results and what this means to digital marketing is the topic of this post.
1. The 7-pack shrunk to a 3-pack. "This is a major adjustment for digital marketing folks as they now are faced with only have a 3-pack of business listing displays versus the 7-pack listing," added Farnam. "We see this as an incredible move by Google to place more emphasis on the importance of complete and correct data listings in a Google Business listing. Now brands will be wrestling to be displayed inside the 3-pack." You can notice the new 3-pack layout screen shot below.
2. Don't call us, because you can't! "One really noticeable change is the exclusion of our phone number on the 3-pack listing," said Farnam. "To see the phone number, you need to click inside the listing if you're on a desktop. On mobile, the phone numbers are listed in the 3-pack." See the mobile screen shot of the 3-pack listing below. Also missing are the Google+ business page links...interesting development.
3. Where the wild clicks are. So what happens when you click on one of the 3-pack search listing results? "Once a user clicks on a listing, they are taken to a new inside page layout that lists other companies," says Farnam. "When we clicked on our own agency listing, we got a really neat page layout that included our Google Business page plus the Google Local map." You can see that screenshot below.
We see the bottom line of the Google Local search results adjustment as a focus on delivering better search results for desktop versus mobile users. "Digital marketing agencies like The Idea People have forecasted some type of adjustment in the Google Local results display page but this particular adjustment on August 11th is a pretty major one," said Farnam. "Online optimization and digital marketing requires a dedicated, full-time team of experts with their eyes on the situation every day. This is exactly where we live and the type of service we offer our clients."
We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users. This update provides people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews and prices, for searches that have multiple results for a given location. - Google spokesperson
Yes, this will cause competitive overdrive for brands fighting to land in the top 3 search results for Google Local. What does that look like for a business and how will we handle that for clients? "There are three parts of maintaining higher earned rankings on Google and in Google Local," said Farnam. "Each one of the three begins and ends with having the insight, the knowledge and the experience for observing and forecasting shifts in ranking algorithms and placement predictions. It's not a science, but it's as close to that is we can get without really knowing the details of any [Google] algorithm."
Wesley Farnam can be reached at The Idea People by calling 704-398-4437 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.