At the beginning of August 2015 Google rolled out their new look local listings for Google My Business (formally known as Google Places and Google Local), which now only shows 3 listings rather than the previous 7. Local listings can be invaluable to businesses that serve specific locations (i.e. towns/cities) and can be a cheap alternative to SEO because you do not necessarily even need to have a website to rank, just a Google My Business Listing.
So what’s changed?
Let’s take a look at a local search for ‘Solicitor Northern Ireland’ back in September 2014.
Let’s compare this search to now in August 2015.
As you can see there are several notable changes:
- Local listings were situated in the middle of page 1 listed A – G (7 in total)
- Phone numbers were displayed
- Website URLs were listed
- Link to Google + page
- There was a small map located to the top right hand side of the page for Northern Ireland
- Several organic listings appeared above local listings
- Related news stories appeared above local listings
- There are just 3 local listings
- Local listings are given higher priority and listed at the top of the page just below paid listings
- The map is now larger and more localised to my location (Belfast)
- Opening times now listed
- Directions button added
- Phone numbers have been removed from desktop but call buttons are available when browsing on mobile
- Google + link has been removed
- Branded anchor-text of URL has been replaced with ‘Website’
What impact will the update have?
Reducing the number of listings from 7 to just 3 will no doubt have a negative impact on the businesses that are no longer listed, which were there previously. However, on the flip side this will have a hugely positive impact for the businesses now listed in the top 3 because these listings are now higher up the page with reduced competition from other local competitors.
It’s worth noting that all Google My Business listings can still be found by clicking into the map or by clicking on the ‘more‘ button directly under the top 3 results but these listings are much less visible compared to page 1 of Google.
How to improve your listing
To improve your local listing it’s very important to ensure that your Google My Business page is fully optimised. If you do not have a listing then please read the following Guide To Adding Your Business To Google My Business (Google Local), which will tell you everything you need to know on how to add a listing.
If you have been affected by the recent update or if you are having difficulties with setting up your Google My Business account, please get in touch with Search Scientist and we would be happy to assist you.
Give us a call on 028 9068 3790 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.