There’s big news out of Google this week, and it means more work, or more expenditure for local businesses. The 3-pack of local search results is going to be reduced to only 2 organic (non-paid) listings plus a paid listing (ad), meaning there will be one less spot for organic results (making it 33% harder to obtain a free listing on the first page).
See a mockup below of the new layout courtesy of Bright Local:
Google has slowly been diminishing the number of organic listings shown on page one of the search results (it was originally a 7-pack) and now they are including ads in the already limited spots. It appears they are being driven by profits as paid ads are becoming increasingly important.
What does this mean for your practice?
- SEO is even more important than ever because there are now fewer local spots to rank for on page one, so the competition is getting fierce.
- Google Adwords Pay Per Click advertising is more valuable for online marketing because now paid ads are going to be included into the local pack. It appears that all you need for inclusion is to be the biggest bidder so this means that even practices with no SEO can still rank on the first page.
Yup, it seems that Google has conceded to the appeal of profit, now allowing any paying business to be included in a prominent place in local results. While these changes have not yet been seen, Google representatives announced the changes at a recent SMX conference.