Image courtesy of Search Engine Land
The last time you did a search on your phone to find the best place in the area to grab a slice of pizza, you may have noticed that there were fewer results featured front and center. That’s because Google recently made a significant change to the way it arranges local search results. Not only has the number of businesses decreased from seven to three, but there has also been a slight redesign. This means big changes for how you find a pizza place and—more importantly for us—how you get your pizza place found.
Why is Three Better Than Seven?
We believe that the continually rising percentage of local searches that come from mobile devices was a driving reason behind this change. The local pack’s redesign makes it much more compatible with mobile interfaces. Next time you do a search, notice that the maps in the 3-pack are more visible than they were in the 7-pack. What’s more, the buttons are bigger, making them easier to click with your finger on a small screen. For the user, this means quickly navigating through the results and—hopefully—finding a good pizza place that’s close by.
Now, let’s find out what this redesign means for those of us on the other side of it—the ones trying to get our local businesses to show up in the new and less spacious local pack.
Follow Best Local SEO Practices
Because of the limited number of spots, it is now more important than ever to follow best local SEO practices. Fortunately, the practices themselves have not changed as a result of this update. Remember all that stuff you were supposed to do before? Make sure you keep (or start) doing it. Here’s a quick refresher:
- Insert geographic keywords at important places, such as the title tag.
- Use Schema markup to tell Google as much about your business as possible (i.e. hours of operation, number of ratings, popular menu items, forms of payments, price range, etc.).
- Claim your Google+ Local business page and fill out as much of it as possible.
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on Google+ Local.
- NAP – make sure your business name, address, and phone number are consistent across major directories
Keep the Mobile User in Mind
Google is clearly paying more and more attention to mobile users. For those who practice the art of SEO, this means it’s time to pay more attention to mobile users, too. In short, your site has to be mobile-friendly. If you don’t know whether it is or not, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool will tell you right away.
See your business showing up in the local 3-pack? What are some ways you’ve managed to roll with this update?