After speaking with several business owners and asking multiple “normal people” who use search using the engine Google I confident that the latest 3 pack update of local search will result in business owners spending much more money.
The costly changes
I am not sure if this was there intention or not, but, just look at these search results. I fail to see how any of these changes provide a better user experience. A quick search for Plumber Dallas TX results in just 3 results. Obviously, if you are not in these 3 results your business will pay the price one way or another. All of these changes increase the amount of time people spend on Google’s site and push many more businesses in to paying for ads.
- Website URL has been stripped away. This is extremely important. Remember when web search engines helped you search the web? If you have a well known URL, people will no longer see it in search results; instead, they’ll see the business name only.
- Telephone Number has been stripped away. Previously, users could see area codes which assisted them in knowing if they were dealing with a local business or a large chain. Now to see the phone #, you must click through to the next page.
- Address information has been stripped away. Yes, there is still a street name at least, but some streets are huge. If you quickly wanted to see the business address, you must now click through to the second Google page.
- Clicking the business name takes you to a Google property, not the plumber’s website
- Clicking to read user’s reviews takes multiple clicks.
- Google+ pages are gone, sort of. They’re no longer linked to in search. Images, and business view (virtual tours) and other information from Google My Business pages still populates local search result information (Google Plus is being unbundled from everything now).
Paid only Beta testing taking place:
In some niches, the Google local search results have been completely eliminated, and only people who pay show up in the first search results.
People who wish to show up in the new Google local search 3 pack can usually do so with a combination of strong reviews and top organic ranking. Top organic ranking costs both time and money- I provide both of these services here every day. People who do not pay a premium for SEO get stuck with some “SEO Company” that is going to burn them.
Other people will give up and pay for AdWords, or for maximum exposure, will pay for both organic placement and paid placement.
And, some businesses will not spend more, and will simply get less business.
Either way, the Google local search results change is definitely going to impact businesses.