Local Search Results of Google – Dominated by Ads
Are we facing the end of the Organic Local SEO? It seems that today Google is dominated by ads. Since August 2015, the local results of Google have been shifted in three main ways and the information below will help the local businesses. In a nutshell, the three things that the users should take into account are:
- Fewer local organic results are on display on the first page.
The local results have shrunk from seven to three results showing on the first page. This means that the businesses with store locations will be impacted by this change. These new results are seen across the SERPs for all clients that have specific locations. This change is permanent and it means that if the business ranks outside top three local results, then its visibility will be impacted. All local businesses should aim at these top three positions.
On both the computer desktop and the mobile device, the users will not see the phone number of the businesses which are not displayed on the SERP. Naturally, this will have an impact on the people who visit the websites of these local businesses. The potential customers will also lose the ability to visit the store without interacting with the local listing.
This is a deliberate change mad by Google, as they want to attribute the calls and visits to their SERPs. After the changes, the users need to click on the link in order to get to the information. The clicks on the business name are now leading to the local finder page where is to be found expanded listing information. On the mobile devices, the links on the desktop SERP are replaced with a Call button. No phone number is seen. Google is trying to make users get drive directions or make phone calls.
- Google is making tests on a new search ad format – Home Service Ads, which will replace the organic local listings.
It is believed that the sponsored Home Service Listings could replace the Organic Local Listings. Thee Home Service Ads were introduced at the end of July. This happened once Google acquired the online service Homejoy. The ads contain specific qualifications and calls to action. Google is now requiring the local home service providers to undergo series of screening procedures. So, is monetizing the local SERP being the end purpose of Google?
- On the mobile SERPs the results comprise only of ads.
The mobile local results are testing all ads that are above the fold. This means that Google is testing the nearby business ads in the local SERPs. Since the local pack is shrinking the organic SERP, it is believed that many businesses will no longer be found on the first page on the search engine results page. At the same time, the businesses which meet the qualifications and have budget enough to pay to get an ad, then these new ads will be their option to get back to page 1 on Google and get enough visibility.