The Latest In Local Search

Google’s new 3 pack curtailed look may have surprised some local businesses as such, but it isn’t surprising that the initiative is an indirect Advertisement to promote Google’s own premium Advertising service “AdWords”. The move serves a further notice to local businesses to get prominently listed on Google My Business (for better local rankings) or else perish (won’t even feature in the local search results).

This further means that the new local search display may show up some surprising results. Here are some mismatching results for some local search queries.

• A search query for local businesses, which earlier showed up for “auto repair” may less likely show up for “transmission repair”.
• A local dentist search, which earlier showed up for “dentist” may less likely show up for an “emergency dentist” or “pediatric dentist”.
• And the local landscaper that topped the ranking for “landscaping” may less likely to top the “patios” search query, to list a few.

All these search facts clearly explain Google’s monogamous attitude to rake in some moolah by serving indirect notification to the local businesses to sign up with its premium advertising service.

Further, Brian Barwig has pointed out and confirmed the mismatched search results pertaining to some search results. In short, you need to be an online specialist to hold on to your previous local search rankings but that certainly isn’t a surety that you will rank for every relevant term.

Here are a few points to think through –

  1. Few consumers searched for niche terms, which generally attract quality traffic and lead generation. But those, who didn’t were clueless
  2. Those who previously ranked in top 7, currently, missed out in the top 3
  3. Less competition means easy to rank
  4. Specific term ranking is easier than for many
  5. Optimizing your given web page is easier for some special category ( one or two) than many
  6. Focusing on one Specialized re-branding is easier than for many
  7. Renaming your business will ensure more clicks, which is further confirmed by Darren Shaw that it can influence rankings
  8. Businesses with keywords in their business name ranked well by Google. Hasn’t Google followed through as it did over 8 months ago by scrapping descriptors from business names? This is due to the fact that the name probably helps Google segment better. Which is why search related to “ABC Transmission Repair” may show up for “transmission” related terms, then for “auto repair”
  9. You show up in more cities or even in statewide search terms, but few local competitors mean Google will fill up the 3 pack with only relevant entries
  10. Ranking ahead is getting quicker but that doesn’t mean that your local SEO can pull it off at one go or wait to probably rank for some specialized category such as a doctor, banker or even a stockbroker
  11. It’s easier now to create concentrated and better “city pages”
  12. SEO will have a great time ahead
  13. You can later extend your target audience
  14. In case, you missed out on the 3 pack keyword ranking then don’t worry organic rankings and AdWords can be of great help
  15. The way things have been going and if you don’t rank well in 3 pack rankings then just pay up to get in

In short, if you are feeling left out from the current 3 pack display then just specializing for a particular niche category may or may not work for you. And if you do consider the option then it may make your life a bit easier at least the industry experts have that opinion.

Before that, you can also do well to further go through the click-through research published on JurisDigital blog by Casey Meraz to form a final opinion on the current 3-pack for local display.

The study results favored Organic results with 39.5% as the clear No.1 which included 6% of local clicks.

See the click-through data with an eye-tracking heat map with the new 3-pack as below –

eye tracking chart

This data throws some more light on the change in the local search behavior as such, which needs to be further analyzed before attempting to make a move in the right direction.

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