In case you haven’t seen this, Google has reduced the number of local listings it shows in search results to three local listings. Previously Google displayed up to seven companies in this space.
The impact on local search marketing has been immediate. Companies that were previously receiving traffic from local searches have had their phones silenced while more business flows to the “top 3” local results. And this is only the beginning. There are six more ways Google is changing how search results are displayed that will have an immediate impact on any company hoping to be found in Google. The good news is that there are actions you can take for your business to address these concerns…
Here are the six ways Google is making things more difficult in local search marketing. Pay close attention to each…
- If you haven’t heard this before, let me be as blunt as I can be. You need a Google+ presence if your company is to be seen in local results.
- Google is showing local ranking preference for companies with more stars (seller ratings) and more reviews. While local businesses without reviews may outrank you in the short term, we have a high certainty via testing being performed by our expert partners that in the end, sites with reviews and stars will outperform those without.
- You need at least 5 reviews for any to be displayed.
- Google only allows Google+ members to leave reviews for businesses.
- Google is testing an option to “only show businesses with reviews”. Once this feature is turned on in a browser it remains permanently on and it also means companies without reviews simply won’t show up in results. We believe it is highly likely Google will roll this out as a permanent “feature” within the next several months.
- Google is going to make it more difficult for individuals to leave reviews on businesses. We are anticipating the easy to find “leave a review” link will be going away from company listings. Instead, people who want to leave reviews will likely have to search for the firm to leave a review for it. This adds an unwanted step in the process and makes getting reviewed that much more difficult.
Worried? You should be. Remember that Google is the modern kingmaker. They believe they have found a way to significantly up the value of Google+ versus Facebook and re-assert themselves as a dominant social player by effectively compelling businesses to have reviews to be found AND by compelling anyone who wants to leave a review to have a Google+ account.
So, what can you quickly do to help your company stay ahead of the curve in local online marketing?
- Get a verified Google+ local business page. (This is different than a brand page and is critical in local business marketing)
- Immediately get 5 reviews. They need to be carefully crafted so they are quality reviews and avoid being “spammy”. You should have your friends, family, and employees review your business. Make certain those are submitted from different physical addresses. In other words, if your employees are reviewing the company they need to do it from home rather than from your business location. Google is tracking Internet IP addresses and it will consider a flood of reviews from the same IP address as spam. Also, be sure the reviews are spread out. Coordinate the reviews so they come in over an extended period of time.
- Expand your effort to get reviews from clients. Remember, the MORE reviews you have the better.
Tackling Local Search Marketing For You…
Local search engine marketing is incorporated into our Concierge level of SEO services. Some search companies charge in excess of $10,000 per month for SEO and fail to address return on investment. Our SEO Services are based on a detailed market assessment and complete plans to help you swallow your market whole. Our plans are based entirely on creating an ROI and our fees are always reasonable.
At SiteforLess we only work with firms we believe we can approach and are committed to a straightforward approach to online marketing. Before we take on a project you must be:
- An established company that meets our program requirements,
- Committed to doing whatever it takes to win in your local market,
- Able to actively participate in the effort.
In exchange, we deliver thoroughly researched, ROI based SEO marketing services that include local as a key component.
- We prefer to serve small businesses (under $50MM in annual revenue and typically under 100 employees.)
- We are a value leader who offers best-of-breed online marketing technology (websites, SEO, social, Email, Email marketing, live chat, secure & compliant forms, and targeted newsletters)
- We deploy marketing solutions made easy by helping hands.
If you are ready to rule your local market via a hands-on search engine marketing service, we would love the chance to talk with you about your needs.
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