While doing some optimization work for one of my clients this last week I noticed some major changes to Google's Local Search results that were directly impacting my client's listing.
Background: Starting in June of this year, 2015, our marketing group created a keyword-optimized website and a "Google My Business" listing that leverages Google Maps, Google+, Google Search, YouTube, Reviews and Posts. In a matter of days the website achieved #1, #2, and #3 ranking on Google's 1st page for the client's primary keyword and location. And, by mid-July our happy client was ranking in the top 7 firms in Google's Local Search; or, what has been known as Google's 7-Pack Map Listings for local search results.
Clearly we were pleased with achieving the early rankings. Starting first with 'keyword' research and then integrating website elements that leverage content, authority, social proof, and call-to-action for maximum conversion to achieve the client's objectives is the secret.
The mid-July results for the top three rankings in Google's organic search for our client's primary keyword and location can be seen here: see client's Google Page #1 Ranking.
Google's Changes: While still savoring this immediate success in creating and ranking our client's 'online properties', by the end of July our fortunes had changed. Google had eliminated the 7-Pack Map Listings for local search and changed to a 3-Pack with a different format. The only good news is that our client maintained its ranking in Google's new 3-Pack. Can you imagine the 'heart-burn' of the four firms that were dropped by Google? See Client's new profile and ranking.
My Take: While Google continues to revolutionalize online marketing. We've all got to change and adjust our digital-marketing strategies. To throw more money into traditional marketing or even internet marketing methods such as SEO, social media, content or paid media without, first, taking into consideration Google’s recent changes makes no sense. Yet, most business owners & marketing experts are unaware of these Google ‘game changers’ that significantly impact their online traffic, conversions and client revenue.
Through these Google changes what seems to be constant is the importance and value of building and marketing an online "5-Star" reputation. Google has recently announced that a firm's 'star rating' will now be included in PPC advertising; and, it seems it will make a real difference on which 3 businesses get into the new 3-Pack. To see how important a firm's reputation or online star-rating is to Google, click here to see how online Customer Reviews factor in to Google's new 3-Pack format.
Moving forward how important do you think it will be for your business to build and manage an online "5-Star" Reputation?
In brief, the one thing we know for certain is that Google's new 3-Pack will lead to fewer phone calls and sales for those businesses that appear in the fourth position or lower. But it might lead to more business for those in the first three results; especially if those businesses are showing "5-Star" raving reviews!
To see how we are countering Google's most recent changes with our new NxGen PressRelease Marketing strategy, click here. For more details and current information on how to incorporate Google's changes into your online digital assets and marketing results contact Greg Johnson.