Google Local Listings Back Down to 3 Results

What Changed?

Google announced recently that local search listings on the first page of Google are now only three. This change is now live on Google. Furthermore, the website url is no longer displayed nor is the full address of the business.  Instead, There are two icons showing to the right of the listing.  A "Directions" icon and the "Website" icon. Capture

What does this mean for my business?

Well, this really means two things.  One, it's now more important than ever that if you aren't showing up in the local pack you really want to be showing up on  the first page of Google in a search related to your product or service.  Two, search engine optimizing for placement on the local pack is now more important than ever. The interesting part of this little scenario is that the higher your first page rankings, the higher the chance is that you will show up in the top 3 in the local pack.  If you are ranked number 8 on the first page results then most likely  you wont be in the top 3 local listings either. In almost every case I have seen the top first page results equal the top local search as well. However, there are some exceptions to this.

  1.  If someone doesn't have a local business address, but has a well search engine optimized webpage for that area, they may be at the top of the first page as a search result, but will not show up on the map per se.
  2. If your business address is close locally to the person searching, then there is a chance that you will be in the top 3 in the local pack, but not in the top 10 on the first page results.

So what's the bottom line here?

The bottom line is, as mentioned earlier, if you are not search engine optimized for first page rankings for a local search, then you can most likely also say goodbye to being in the top 3 of the local pack listings.  Also, because you may not have a local address for the area being searched, it's more important than ever to have a very good search engine optimized page for the local areas you serve, so that if you don't get into the top 3 in the local pack search results, you at least show up on the first page for that search.