You can always expect curve balls from Google especially when it comes to local listings. Google just made it much harder to rank in your local market. A recent change / update that has happened under the radar has basically cut your changes by more than half of showing up
This new listing result has a few new surprising changes. Of course the dropping from 7 pack to 3 pack, but what is most surprising is where did Google + page go? You cannot even get to it from the search results. This is a problem especially as rumors float around about Google's social media site Google + certainly struggling
The changed listing example has only these core areas when you decide to click. (I searched "Real Estate Agent Orlando 32835")
The local listing itself – Look below.
Website – A company’s website that's saying it claimed and a website URL is there.
Driving Directions – Directions that links to Google Maps where you can get directions.
Hour Open - Open until not full hours and days.
Reviews- While a few showed reviews many did not show up in the initial search but when clicked they showed
Gone are the following important things that people we are accustomed to seeingwhen searching Google locally.
7 listings - Wentfrom seven listings to only 3 listings that some tight real estate
Phone Number - Really where is the ability to call, you actually have to click through the listing to find the phone number and hours of operation.
Website URL- Google is making you click on their website link.
Google+ Page- Wow this was a shocker but says a lot about what changes are coming soon.
Well we will see if it sticks, we know how important local listings are to a local business however Google like to play games and get people talking about drastic changes. No official word yet from Google. But this got me thinking does a properly listed, optimized local listings, with consistent reviews and completed 100% does that listing get stickier and show up? So of course I decided to search one of our long time clients Orlando Eye Institutewhom we know for sure is one of many options for services in that space so we searched Ophthalmologist Orlando, FL and sure enough right there and sitting pretty I might add.
Well tomorrow could be different, but I think most important is that your local listing information is the foundation of your local marketing efforts and must be claimed and optimized
Would love to hear feedback from others on the changes and keep posted.