Overshadowed by the recent Google rebrand announcement, the update will see sweeping changes to how business are displayed in local listings.
Most notably Google have reduced the number of business listing displayed in the local search result from seven to three, making the competition for this valuable screen real estate even tougher. The update has also seen the removal of unverified listings and listing with no posting activity.
Google+ local listing changes include:
- Links to Google+ pages have been removed
- Business addresses have been shortened to just include the street name
- Reviews have been given more prominence
- Phone numbers have been removed on desktop
- No flyouts - you can no longer hover over listings to get additional information. You now need to click.
- Photos are now showing alongside map listings
To help ensure you're not losing out on the latest Google update and are in fact leveraging the new opportunities it presents, we suggest considering the following:
- Ensure all information on your Google+ page, website and any referral sources is up to date and utilising the appropriate keywords
- Encourage customers to review your product/service post purchase. Reviews have now become a key ranking factor for Google, the more great review you can acquire the more likely you are to rank.
- Ensure your Google+ listing is verified and you are actively contributing to this. Set up a posting schedule to ensure this happens.
- Add photos to your Google+ page. With photos now displaying alongside map listings it has never been more important to add great images to your Google+ page. To help facilitate this Google have added new photo categories to G+ pages, which include; internal photos, exterior photos, team photos and photos at work. Important to note: if no images are provided Google may show images it deems 'relevant' to your business e.g. that shady looking building down the road from your business address.
Whilst the Google+ change does bring its own set of challenges, these can be easily worked around with a bit of careful planning and a few minor tweaks. Remember SEO basics still apply and if you need some help and advice on optimising your Google+ listing or website, get in contact with us today.