Google's Latest Search Change Is Another Headache for Businesses

digital search

The big news last week for Google was Alphabet, the new-look firm that will handle all the inventive ideas Google executives Larry Page and Sergey Brin have. The bigger change to Google’s search that figures to impact many businesses was, as usual, pushed through with little fanfare.

Local search results traditionally would display up to seven local businesses at once, but Google has trimmed that down to a set of three, and the results are highly variable. The most obvious impact is that your business may not show up in these listings, which are below ads but above the rest of the organic results.

Portsmouth hotels google search

The reduction in the number of listings is one thing, but Google is also tinkering with the way these listings populate, and that’s where you’ll need to really pay attention. Now, each company’s website, phone number, and full address are not listed, with just reviews, tag lines and business names. The upshot is that unless they scroll by these listings, your clients can’t simply click to be taken to your website, because each listing goes to a screen that looks like this.

Google Maps and business listing


As always, Google’s reasons for doing this are opaque, but they’re likely nudging businesses to advertise with them, or at least update their Google listings. That’s annoying and frustrating, but not an insurmountable challenge for a business owner with a little time and money to take care of the issue.

What should you do, then?

Update your Google+ and Google My Business listings

Make sure you have a current tagline, current photos, and plenty of information on your pages. Google’s going to pull all of that, and the better your page, the better your chances of getting listed.

Consider Google Ads

It’s not always cheap, but Ads reach your targeted audience effectively, appear above the local capsules, and allow you to effectively track how many of your clicks are converting to dollars.

Optimize your pages for search

If you can’t show up in the local listings capsule, you’ll want to be at or near the top of the search results.

If you’re looking for help with any of these initiatives, reach out to the Hawthorn Creative team today.

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