August 29, 2015: Over the last several days I have noticed that in many of the niches that I track, Google Local results (the 3 pack of local listings) has now moved to the top of Google’s search engine results pages, pushing organic rankings down. Previously, there were 1 or 2 organic listings above the 3 pack. Often, the top result was a Yelp page or a local business.
Some business owners will discover this in September, 2015.
This comes as no surprise to me. I recently wrote the August 2015 local search changes were all about the money, simply because, if you’re not in the 3 pack, you can use AdWords to be above the 3 pack. Now, with these changes, there is no way to organically rank above the 3 pack.
Here is a screenshot of what the changes look like. I have been tracking plumbers as they are now affected by Google Home Services Ads. The home services ads is essentially the 3 pack for whoever pays the most. This will drastically impact how plumbers do business nationwide once the program is out of Beta. In other words, being a plumber is about to become significantly more expensive.
How to keep your costs lower amid the changes
You will need someone who can optimize your AdWords Express listings.
An SEO and content strategy can assist you in ranking for terms people are searching for. To use plumbers, as an example, articles by an expert content writer based around terms such as “garbage disposal replacement” or “hot water heater repair” or any other variety of key phrases will get traffic from potential clients. At least, we still have organic search results (for now).
If you need assistance with PPC, SEO, or content feel free to contact us.