The results offered by Google local have seen changes in two major ways. All local business owners and service providers should take note of it.
- The first page consists of lesser number of local results:
Even on last week, there were seven local results showing up next to the map for a local query, while this week, the number has got reduced to just three of them. Local businesses that are ranked below the top three positions literally have no organic visibility now.
- Google tests a new search ad for all home service providers:
Google beta tests the ads of home services. In order to be in that much coveted position, all service providers now have to attain a number of stringent qualifications for even the advertisers. The list of attainable qualifications also includes online reputation check, license and background check for other reasons and also mystery shopping checks too.
- The 3 Result Search Replaces The 7-Pack One:
Now, that there are lesser number of local results for organic search showing up in the format of local pack on the first page. In this case, the businesses with store locations got impacted very strongly. Now, the searcher can see the new results in all the SERPs for any client with a brick-and-mortar store. This started happening from late night on Thursday. No official announcement has come from Google regarding the change yet. The speed of this rollout and its consistency proves that this particular change for all sorts of test queries is a permanent one.
Immediate impact of this change is expected over here. If a particular business ranks below the top three positions in the organic local result, there can be a huge effect on its online visibility. For Google My Business or GMB local listings, the top three results matter the most.
The old and new look of the SERP page for Google Local Organic:
After the idea of change in Google’s organic search results took shape, the SERP page of the search result also got a complete facelift. This new look of the page with 3 organic results is also being called local stack by the web masters. The address and phone number of a business is not displayed any longer on the SERP for desktop or mobile. From now on, the hour and street name appear on the local stack along with ‘Directions’ and ‘Website’ buttons.
There is no doubt about the fact that strange change is going to have a clear impact on the number of searchers visiting local business sites from SERPs. This often keeps potential customers away from dialing the number or visiting the store before connecting to the local listing. It seems to be a deliberate change caused by Google. Before going for this concept, Google could not attribute to the SERPs for search queries. Now a searcher needs to click through for information.
Only clicks on a business name does not drive searchers the Google+ page. Now, the search takes them all to the “local finder” which expands listing information for a particular result they have clicked on. Google is detaching Google+ from local. Now Google features a hybrid result for the maps products.
Home Service Listing (Sponsored)in Beta:
It is not only Organic local listings that stays in the Google’s remodeling structure. It is towards the end of July when sponsored local listings started showing up. Google acquired Homejoy in July. It is an online service for bringing house cleaners and customers closer. There are speculations about some new features to work out the process of different home service providers like, plumbers, house cleaners and roofers connecting with people looking for home improvement process. That is the feature that is seen today in beta test in San Francisco Bay Area.
The Latest Ad for Local Search in San Francisco SERP:
The home services ad stack contains three sponsored listings are considered ‘qualified’ and are eligible for a call to action for ‘connecting with the very experienced and also the most trusted professionals in the area. All plumbers, locksmiths, handymen, cleaning service providers get the help to undergo a number of screening procedures including, insurance, background, interviews, license checks, mystery shopping and online reputation checks, etc.
As of now, home service ads are available for businesses located at the Bay area only. We can find out a connection between the service providers and changes occurred in the local space of Google. The query for San Francisco plumbers does not offer any local organic listing on the page. With a reduced local stack, there will be many businesses which will be out of the Page 1 rank. Businesses that qualify and pay well for the rank can remain in the search result. Service ads can also become one of the ways to get back to visibility on Page 1.