We recently published episode 12 of our This Week In Organic show, looking into:
- Will app content optimization become an essential part of SEO?
- What’s the future of YouTube now that it’s part of a smaller Google?
- Is Pinterest a social media platform or an e-commerce opportunity?
- Are these the 7 Social Media Platforms That Could Explode Before 2016?
Today we’re zeroing in on one of the topics discussed in the episode: What impact have Google’s latest updates had on local listings?
Jump straight this topic in the video below:
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: I know what caught your eye this week was the changes Google’s made and rolled out globally in terms of local pack from going from 7 to 3. So do you want to talk a little bit about the ramifications of that for businesses, what you’re seeing and maybe some advice for people, your parting shot before you head off?
ANDREW SHOTLAND: So there are maybe two or three big ramifications. So the number one ramification we see is that actually this hasn’t changed much of anything because we’ve been monitoring a lot of local businesses, a lot of directories that we work with that rank through these queries and we haven’t seen much change in traffic or phone calls. That said, it’s a big change because what you see is the display now is heavily oriented towards showing ratings and review information, so getting ratings and reviews for your business – good ones – is probably more important than ever.
And then where I think the big ramification is for SEO consultants because they were probably last week touting that they got a business to rank number four in the local results and how great that was on page one, and now they don’t show up and they’re going to have to explain that, ‘Oh, it’s really not a big deal so don’t worry about it!’ So I think it’s kind of shifting how we’re talking about this stuff to clients, for sure.
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Okay, so if I came to you today with my new business, my deli, and said to you, ‘Andrew, I need to rank in Google locally and the other search engines,’ what practical steps could you give me in terms of advice, ‘Do this, do this, do this’?
ANDREW SHOTLAND: First we’d say this before this happened, but don’t just think about local but local in terms of the local results, those local pack results, but think about it in terms of local organic results because now more than ever you need to rely on those versus trying to get into the pack.
But the advice is still the same. You have to have an optimised site, understand how to optimise that site for local, like target local keywords, have local schema on your site, that kind of thing. You need to make sure you have all your citations, your local business listings and all the key sites that Google looks at consistent. Your data needs to be consistent. You need to have a cleaned, well optimised, well categorised Google My Business page and you need to get backlinks. And that’s pretty much it.
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Plenty of decent quality ones. Okay. So just before you head off, how can people contact you if they want to learn more about local search and talk to you and your company about the great work you’ve done for your clients? How can they find you? Where should they contact you?