Ollie D. of Shoutdog.com alerted me to recent changes in the way Google displays local business results. Those changes generally have the effect of accentuating the display of Google Places listings and the websites associated with those Google Places businesses, while pushing other organic web results farther down the results page. If a business has optimized its Google Places online business listing and the business has a website associated with the listing, that business will likely have more prime display space at the very top of the first page of search results. If a business has not optimized its Google Places listing and depends on website search engine optimization for visitor traffic, that business could see diminished traffic to its website because that website might be pushed off the first search results page.
It’s apparent that Google has implemented the changes for some locations and some searches, but not for others. For example, here’s a search for “divorce lawyers lynchburg va” and my client, the Law Office of M. Marcy Jones, is listed in the middle of Google’s “seven pack” of local search results. These local results look pretty much unchanged with a condensed list of local results followed by website results.
Here’s another screenshot from a related search for “mediation lawyer lynchburg va” showing Google’s new Places results format.
Notice how the new Google results listing for the M. Marcy Jones, Attorney, essentially combines her Google Places listing with her organic website listing. The homepage title is displayed along with relevant text from the website and the listing is keyed to the Places map on the right side of the page. A link to the Google Places listing is also provided to the right of the search results listing. This new format is much more convenient for the user because the business’s Places listing is displayed with the website listing and the map of the business location. The website text displayed gives the user more information about the listed business in one place on the results page.
Here is the new Google local search results page for another client — The Growth Coach Houston — located in Sugar Land, TX, just outside of Houston. In this case, the appearance of these results has not changed much, but the link to reviews of the business is very prominent and states the number of reviews collected for the business.
Although these listings are also associated with websites, the listings don’t incorporate the website title pages and descriptions of the businesses. The Growth Coach Houston’s website listing is displayed just below the local business listings and a Web searcher might be tempted to skip the local listing and go directly to the business website. Of course, the link to seven business reviews might draw Web searchers to the local listing first. In these results, local listings and website results are not combined. Note the prominence of the Rust Reviews Honest Business Reviews listing for The Growth Coach Houston!
Another Houston-area client business listing for Bill Fogle Collision Centers appears in a search for “collision repair league city tx” and this results listing is served up in the new, changed format. Note the easy access to reviews collected for the business and direct links to the all of the reviews on the right side of the page and individual links to the Insiderpages.com and Citysearch.com reviews under the listing. Again, the new results format provide more information to local business searchers and the information is arranged for quick access. Now it’s easier than ever, in the new results format, for prospective clients to check customer reviews for local businesses.
A last example of the new Google Places listings is a screenshot of results for “turfgrass denver co” with our client Emerald Sod Farms appearing in a great position at the top of the listing. Again, the Emerald Sod Farms Google Places listing is integrated with its website listing to provide lots of great information for local business Web searchers.
This integration of the Google Places and website listings, for those businesses that have local-search-optimized Places listings and websites, will tend to push some other websites off the first page of organic results and into Web obscurity!
If you have a local business presence and you’re not optimizing your Google Places listing and website to perform well in local results, please contact Rust Reviews. We can help you take advantage of the new changes to Google’s local business results displays, instead of being hurt by them.