The new Google search results page for desktop has caused a bit of a stir
since it rolled out in February 2016. While once featuring three Google
AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) ads at the top of the page and multiple ones
down the right-hand side of the page, things have changed quite a bit.
They have wiped out the ads on the right-hand side and there are now
four ad spots at the top at three ad spots at the bottom of the page. In
fact, Google will only show three ads at the top unless it’s a highly-
commercial inquiry, which in that case, it will show four.
So the total number of possible ads in any given search has been reduced
from 11 to down to 7 at the most. Besides making the page appear a lot
more basic, this has also left marketers wondering how it will affect them.
Organic Search Is Affected
Not only does this shrink the potential advertising space, but it also
pushes the organic results farther down the page. Therefore, search
engine optimization (SEO) is more important than ever before. Companies
that want their websites to show up on the first page of the results will
have to work a lot harder to grab and secure one of the limited spots for
Paid Search Has Become A Lot More Competitive
Due to the fact that several Google AdWords ad spots have been dropped,
the fight for the top four available spaces just became even more
In order to stay ahead of the competition, businesses are now going to
have to pay a lot more attention to their paid ad campaigns to get the
level of exposure they want. There is a lot less room for error than with
the previous results page layout. So you’ll have to pull out all the stops
and ensure your ads are set up correctly and targeting the right audience.
Costs Are Potentially Going To Be Higher
Along with that comes the potential for higher costs-per-click being that
many businesses are competing for these prime pieces of real estate.
With more competition and fewer results showing on the page, you may
have to be willing to pay a little more to be featured above your
It isn’t all bad news however, if you do manage to make it onto the
shortlist, there’s more chance of consumers clicking on the ad. This is
because they now blend in a lot better with organic search results. While
they have the signature “Ad” sign next to them, at first glance they
appear as organic results, rather than paid ones.
There’s no doubt that the new page layout is going to affect businesses
whether they’re using Google AdWords or whether they’re trying to rank
higher organically byway of SEO. However, it could be used as an
opportunity to improve your overall digital marketing strategy to ensure
your company receives ample exposure using various means.
Thinking of focusing more of your marketing efforts on local search but
you’re not sure if it’s worthwhile? Consumers have been using the
internet to search for information for well over a decade. Search engines
have revolutionized the way we handle everyday life. During this journey,
location-based searching has shown steady growth as well.
Location-based searching is the practice of searching for a product,
service, or business based on location. Couple this with the fact that
mobile usage has grown exponentially in recent years, you can only
image how this has impacted the level of local searches performed by
Both local and mobile consumer buying habits have had significant
impacts on the marketing world and are becoming more popular as time
goes on. Here are some statistics you may not know and what they mean
for your business:
1. Most local consumers use local information in ads
Google actually carried out a survey into local search behavior and the
results showed over 60% of consumers wanted ads to be customized
based upon their location. Around 61% prefer ads that are customized to
their exact location, while 67% want them to be customized to include at
least their zip code and city.
So what does this mean? It means your business needs to ensure that the
ads you place are extremely targeted by making uses of location
2. Nearly 70% Of Consumers Use “Call” Or “Get Directions”
If you’re wondering just how important it is to list your phone number and
address, this statistic clears it up. With this amount of smartphone users
claiming to use the “call” and “get directions” feature on Google, your
business is seriously missing out if your details aren’t included in your
Google My Business profile. Double check to make sure your address and
phone number are correct. Also, claim and optimize your listing for even
3. Mobile Searches Lead to Action FAST
Another very interesting fact is that 70% of searches on mobile devices
are followed up with an action within one hour. Even more importantly, a
significant 50% of consumers who carry out a local business search on
their smartphone or tablet, visit the company’s store within one day.
So not only are potential customers carrying out more local searches,
they’re also following up on their search. You know what this means… If
your company wants to connect with SERIOUS potential buyers, your
local listing has to be up to par and ready to give these consumers the
information they need. In other words, make it easy for them to buy from
As you can see from the information above, local search has become
extremely popular in recent years. It’s driving in a lot more local
consumers, not only to company websites, but into physical company
So if you’re looking to draw in new customers, increase website traffic,
and boost profits, local search is definitely your first order of business.
Making sure your business is easy to find is the number one key to
ensuring your success these days – especially digital marketing success.
However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. The detailed process of helping
your company stand out from your competitors can be both time
consuming and difficult.
However, Google My Business has helped local businesses gain more
exposure and convert more local prospects into paying customers. This
local listing platform helps to attract more consumers in the area who
may be searching for your type of product or service.
The problem is, there are still millions of local businesses that have not
yet capitalized on this critically important marketing platform.
All it takes to turn Google My Business into a profit machine is to
complete your profile, add as much information as possible, and
optimizing it for higher rankings. But most businesses struggle with that
very first step, which is to complete your profile. Very few business
owners are completing their profiles to 100%. However, if you want to get
the best results, this step cannot be ignored.
Here are a few tips to help you get started won the right path:
Make Sure Your Business is Actually Listed
Of course, before you can focus on getting a 100% score, you need to
first make sure you’re listed on Google My Business. Type in your
company’s name, address, or phone number into Google search and see if
anything comes up. If so, you know you’re listed and you can proceed to
completing and claiming it. If it’s not listed, you want to create a listing
for your business as soon as possible.
Filling Out Your Profile
If you want to get a 100% score, you’re going to need to ensure that your
profile is completely and accurately filled out. First, fill in all the required
fields. This actually contributes towards a great bulk of your score. It
includes fields such as:
Your company name as used in your everyday real world business
Your physical address
Your local phone number
Once you have the basics filled out, you get additional score points for
Your company website address
Your company email address
Hours of operation
Detailed description of your business
Pictures and Videos
Strategic keyword placement
… and more
The good news is that it is really simple to see what you need to do to
improve your score via the Google my Business dashboard. Simply log in
and take a look to see what your next steps should be. This is indicated
by the profile completion bar shown on the dashboard. Should you need
help with anything, it may be best to get the help of a professional local
The change from Google’s 7-pack, to a reduced 3-pack has had a major
impact on local SEO. Many businesses struggled to get featured when
there were seven spots available. Now getting into the top three can
seem like rocket science. The good news is that this goal is not
However, it does take time, skills, and knowledge to get it done. Being
seen by local consumers just as they’re searching for your type of product
or service is the most targeted type of marketing known today. But
getting there can be tricky unless you really know what you’re doing.
To help you get started down the right path, here are three helpful tips:
1. Get more citations
When it comes to ranking your local listing, one thing Google pays close
attention to is how often a company is mentioned in other sources. In
other words, it looks for “citations” to validate your business. A citation is
a mention of your business name along with another piece of business
information anywhere on the web – with OR without a link back to your
The additional information could be your phone number, website URL, or
physical address – combined or individual. In order to count as a citation,
the information must be an EXACT match to the information on your
Google My Business listing.
Citations help prove to the search engines that you are a real company;
therefore, the more of them you have from quality sources, the better
your local listing rankings will be.
2. Add photos to your listings
It’s no secret that consumers love photos. The more, high quality images
you have on Google local listing profile, the more appealing it will be to
potential customers. This goes farther than Google; Yelp has even
published advice on how to optimize your business listings, claiming that
photos make a massive difference. It even goes as far as to say that
according to research from Review Trackers, consumers spent 2.5 times
more of their time on listings that featured photos.
3. Get as many reviews as you can
Reviews are an important part of getting noticed online these days.
Consumers love writing reviews about businesses and they also like
reading them. Google has taken note of this. It wants to promote the
best local businesses and what better way to determine who those
businesses are than through positive user reviews? If you want to really
increase your rankings, encourage your customers to leave reviews
whenever you can.
Getting your business to show up on Google’s 3-pack is a lot more
challenging than it was with the 7-pack; obviously, because there are less
spots. The tips above will help, but you will need to continually keep up
with local search changes and ensure all of your company’s information is
listed correctly and updated going forward. Not only that, but make sure
you make smart use of categories and strategic keyword placement within
your profile to give it strength.
You probably already know how important reviews are in terms of
marketing your products and services. They break down the barriers your
potential customers may have when trying to decide whether or not to do
business with you.
Reviews and testimonials can bring a lot of credibility to your business,
which ultimately results in higher conversions and more revenue.
Whether you’re a dentist, handyman, attorney, chiropractor, electrician,
or other local services company, it is important to build up a certain level
of trust with your prospects – and reviews can help you do just that.
In other words, they bring an incredible level of profitability that
businesses cannot afford to ignore.
Maybe you already have some glowing reviews and are wondering how to
get more eyes on them. This is key.
Here are three places you can show them off for maximum exposure.
1. Your website
Displaying customer reviews on your actual website will really help draw
in sales because these prospects are obviously already interested in your
business. So putting your customer reviews and testimonials where they
can clearly see them will only work to your benefit. Ideally, you should
have a testimonials page, but don’t be shy about posting a few of them
on your home page and other pages as well.
2. Social Media
It’s hardly surprising that displaying your reviews on social media is going
to give you ultimate exposure. With millions of visitors every day, these
sites give you the opportunity to show off your ratings to a massive
number of people. Take Facebook for example.
If you go to the ‘about’ section on your business page timeline, you’ll see
it if you edit the address section, there’s an option to check a box which
reads “show map, check-ins and star ratings on the page”.
3. Place them inside of your e-books or reports
If you’re giving away free e-books or reports to get opt-ins for your email
list, put your reviews and testimonials inside of them to boost results.
You’re already giving them helpful information that they find valuable by
providing the content. Including your reviews and testimonials will further
add to the fact that your business is the right one to meet their needs.
4. Add them to your printed marketing materials
Just like everything mentioned above, reviews and testimonials can also
help any printed advertising perform better. Most of the time, you may be
limited on space, but it only really takes one or two reviews to show
prospects that you are reputable.
5. At your place of business
Showing off your reviews and testimonials inside of your place of business
is powerful. It’s a great way to show existing customers that they’ve
made the right choice and can go a long way in customer retention and
Reviews and testimonials themselves are important. But it’s where you
display them that brings the real value. Displaying them in the places
mentioned above will definitely shine a positive light on your business,
increase conversions, and help you generate more sales.