How Google Redefined Local Search
Local optimization faced probably the biggest shake-up since the Pigeon algorithm. We noticed the first obvious changes on 6th August, and with them arrived the first reasons for panic. From 7, the number of listings on the first page of Google, has melted to 3. At this moment, it became clear that the search engine has totally changed the whole concept of local search.
This event affected the search results in each country of the world by the end of the same day. It was a strange decision given the fact that Google always used to run tests in certain countries before implementing the changes everywhere.
The use of mobile devices for online search continues to grow to unprecedented levels, and Google tries to adapt its desktop results to the display of those on a smartphone or tablet. The goal of the Local Snack Pack was to make the same what we see and use on both platforms.
These kind of improvements in the user experience has always been part of Google’s focus, but what the users get, regardless of the kind of platform they use, is the main direction, in which the search engine works.
Reasons for the update
Every change and update result from a number of continuous tests, which are usually noticed by the SEO experts. The main reason for concern springs from the fact that every business which competes with more than two other companies in the same industry will be extremely seriously affected by the changes.
It is here necessary to ask an important question – just how much traffic was distributed among the positions between 4 and 7. To take this serious step, Google probably had its reasons, and namely – the lack of enough traffic for the lower half of the 7 results which we used to see before the new update.
The main reason behind this is again related to mobile devices. The first three results fill the entire screen of the smartphone, leaving the rest 4 without enough exposure unless the user decides to scroll down.
Despite this fact, however, the businesses which occupied lower positions had a greater chance of development and popularization of their brands. Their websites received visibility on desktop platforms, which they lack at the moment, and they miss the opportunity to present themselves to a larger audience.
New methods of optimization for a position among the top 3
Where should we redirect our efforts?
#1 Limited search
Local optimization has a great variety of specific elements, which remain important to it, but it also has many other examples coming from organic search, which also affect the local search engine results in Google.
Despite the local optimization techniques, organic search will always be on top. This requires more skill and effort on the part of the SEO experts, who have to focus on the aspects most important for organic search to succeed in increasing the rank of local results.
Before the Google update, many businesses succeeded to get by without the use of links, due to the lack of a sufficiently competitive environment.
From now on, we will have to pay serious attention to linkbuilding, because it is becoming a key aspect of the optimization process. Every link opportunity has to be used if we want to reach maximum levels of traffic.
#3 Marketing priorities
Marketing and Public Relations have to be at the core of online presence. If they are not of a high enough standard, even the hardest efforts invested in organic and local optimization will not be sufficient for good results.
To achieve good marketing, it takes great investment in it because linkbuilding is just a small fraction of the whole process! Promotions on local level and partnership with various businesses and institutions are an excellent tool for building successful public relations.
If you need expert help in the field of SEO and you want to be sure that your business will reach the new standards required to be in the top 3 of Google’s search results – turn to 411 Marketing!