As of February, Google rolled out an entirely new layout in which they removed the ads on the right side of the webpage and added a fourth paid ad on top of organic search results. Businesses paying for ads are rejoicing while organic SEO results are less than pleased with the change.
No doubt 2016 has been a year for the books and we’re only half way through! Google has implemented huge changes recently that are affecting a storefront’s organic and local search results in a number of ways. Here are the changes Google has implemented, how they will affect your local business, and what to expect in the future.
Chatmeter started off as a realization that customer reviews were going to have a huge impact on decision making for consumers looking for local products and services. However, there was no way to manage this huge influx of reviews in the fragmented world of local search. Collin Holmes, Founder and CEO, set out in late 2009 to build the very first mobile local search platform aimed to help marketers, agencies, and local businesses improve their online presence and reputation.
Google has confirmed that ads appearing in the right hand column of its desktop search page will be eliminated worldwide, with only two exceptions, product listing ads and the ads in the knowledge panel. This update decreases the total amount of ads from eleven to seven.
In November, Google responded to user feedback with a newly designed Google+. It’s streamlined and has an emphasis on communities and collections. The company rebuilt it across all mediums. So the site is consistent and easy to use on any format. However, your local business should continue to direct customers to Google Maps.
If you happen to visit a Google+ page today, you’ll see an option to check out the new Google+. The updated UI is simpler, faster and integrated across the web, iOS and Android.
Last month, we reported that Google was beginning to separate business listings from Google+ pages. This latest makeover to Google+ reinforces the fact that they are shifting their listings to maps. Your business should now be directing customers and clients to Google Maps business listings rather than your Google+ page.
Because the company recognized that most of the growth on the site was through Collections and Communities, Google+ now has a more social/community based feel. It doesn’t give users the option to write reviews, share, or post pictures on a local business page.
The new Google+ has yet to be fully promoted, and doesn’t show up in local search results. Although the company still gives the option to use the classic UI, it can be assumed that it will eventually be phased out. Google reviews, ratings and directions to a business listing still remain primarily on Google maps.
One minor change to a social media or review site can have a large impact on your overall SEO strategy. If you need help navigating, schedule a free demonstration with us. Chatmeter will show you how simple it can be to keep up with it all!
With Facebook adding starred reviews at the end of 2013 and partnerting with Factual recently to include millions of more store pages, we knew a local search portal was not far away. Although it has been live for close to a month, Facebook has yet to promote their new local search engine (https://www.facebook.com/services/) to the mass public. While this first beta version is available on desktops, it has yet to take the jump to mobile devices. Its features and UI are strikingly similar to other local search giants like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google… and has even been hyped the “Yelp Killer” by a few online articles.
This past August, a survey was conducted online among 583 local business owners throughout the world, most of them being from the United States. They were asked to rank the importance of a number of local search KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) including: phone calls, search ranking, website traffic, online reviews and ratings, website enquires, citation volume, revenue impact and GMB Insights. Phone calls and search ranking came in first and second, with website traffic and online customer reviews tied for third place.
Pinterest just added location data to its current Place Pin service feature, with listings and reviews powered by Foursquare. With their extensive reach, this just became another key site for your business to monitor. As they continue to enhance their Place Pins with valuable and accurate business information, Pinterest gains momentum as a social media site that can drive awareness and traffic to your stores in the complex world of local search.
As of January 2015, Zomato acquired Urbanspoon for a reported $50-60 million. You may ask, who is Zomato? How can they easily buy out an online monster in the world of Restaurant Local Search? Zomato is actually the largest Restaurant Review Site in the world, even more popular than Yelp in every country except the US (we’re actually late adopters for once). The acquisition was the first US venture for the New Delhi based company, spreading its platform to 22 Countries, boosting its restaurant listings from 330,000 to 1 Million. So popular, that Chatmeter has decided to add the Review/Search Site to it’s list of provider partners and display all information within our platform.
Topics: Blog, Internet Marketing, Local Search, Local SEO, Local Business Listings, Local Search, Local Search Rankings, Local SEO, Mobile, mobile, Monitoring Online Reviews, Online Marketing, Review Management, Reviews, Zomato
In recent years Facebook has transformed from a widely popular social media site to a platform integral for many businesses’ and brands’ success. According to a study done by Kendall College, 58% of consumers who plan to buy products in store visit businesses’ Facebook pages before purchasing. Clearly, people no longer only use Facebook as a means to connecting with their friends and as a virtual photo album. Facebook has evolved into an integrated local search platform where customers can seek out local businesses (and their contact info), read branded messages, and discuss their experience via stared reviews (we’ve even seen them automatically adding menu pages, and hours of operation… sounds like Yelp, right?).