Google has done it again.
At this point, it shouldn't be news. Google will update the way they display search results every few months. This means that most business owners will always be behind on their SEO unless they have 50 hours in their day. I can assure you, they do not.
But I'll share some tips that will make it easier for those that like to manage your Google presence on your own. As always, you can contact us for a free consultation to get some options on what you could be doing to further your reach.
Also, before the tips, I want to add something. The 'Google Calls' to business owners claiming you have lost/will lose your listing are getting out of hand. 99/100 times, this is a scam. I know that simply not answering unknown numbers is not an option for a lot of you, especially with them spoofing with 574 numbers now. But once you realize what it is, either hang up directly or politely say no thank you. Then block the number, this feature is available on most phones and with most carriers.
Google will never call you directly about your listing. There are times you will receive a legit phone call from them regarding AdWords but even those are best to ignore. If you have any questions about your Google listing or presence, it's best to contact a local agency for help. It doesn't even have to be us, there are plenty of great options in the area. Nearly every agency will offer a free consultation so you at least know what you're looking at.
And now, the tips! These come courtesy of Joy Hawkins, one of the top Google Contributors in the world. The update has been dubbed 'Possum' and it took place in the beginning of September. It appears to have only affected the three-pack and Local Finder.
1. Location Doesn't Kill Anymore
For those of you that fall outside a city limit, Google results can be frustrating. You won't register in Mishawaka even though you are across the street, due to your South Bend address. Possum has remedied this in some capacity, giving those with a solid Google presence more weight elsewhere. This also means that if you were relying on your address for search result rankings, you could be in some trouble.
2. Let's Bundle
Google got a little crazy and started ranking individual doctors ahead of their practice listing for awhile. They seem to have come to their senses and are starting to bundle those back together and shoot practice listings up higher. One of our clients, Zent Family Dentistry, has seen a massive spike in their rankings since this happened. Good news across the board for those of you doing SEO right.
3. Where Are You?
Your physical location, literally where you are sitting right now, is more important now. Google will pull your location and give you relevant results closer to you. This has always been the case, they just seem to be ramping it up now. No, Edward Snowden is not involved.
4. Three-Pack Me, Alone
The three-pack has always gone hand in hand with organic results but those seem to be shifting a bit more. For example, our agency is the top organic result in nearly every local search term but sometimes we'll see our local listing get bumped from the three-pack. This will probably be here to stay and in the end, those that do SEO correctly and stay on top of it will benefit, as usual.