Local SEO A-Z #3: The new face of Local SEO
Local SEO is becoming increasingly more competitive. Previously, Google displayed seven businesses in the “Local Pack” but this is now reduced to only three listings. This aimed to improve user experience, especially on mobile. However, it means that businesses with multiple local presences simply can’t afford to not implement a fine-tuned local SEO strategy if they want to rise to the top. This next instalment in our Local SEO A-Z series explains the roadmap to help you do just that.
Today we are exploring the new Google features that you should keep in mind when optimising for local.
Google local pack promotes owner promotions
Google tests its local pack panel with increasing frequency. One of the latest feature updates allows Google My Business owners to post deals and promotions below their core listing. This is a really useful feature as it will allow business to attract more traffic and help improve the click through rates in the local pack.
Google local pack shows popular times
This is a handy little local pack feature that allows users to know if a venue is expected to be busier at a certain time in the day. Such a feature can have significant implications for businesses,
- A searcher can plan their visit better and avoid disappointment
- Some users might prefer to shop online rather than in store over a busy period therefore influencing e-commerce transactions
- Smaller businesses can come up with strategies to optimise revenue growth during the busy hours by introducing time sensitive promotions and discounts
- Owners can plan staffing better to accommodate for busy times.
Having launched the feature successfully and generating active users, Google has now gone a step further and introduced live visit data for businesses that qualify.
Google local pack introduces critic reviews and reviews from the web
In August, 2016 Google introduced critic reviews and the top 10 lists to appear in the local knowledge panel. Then following criticism it added functionality to include reviews from the web which included scores from prominent review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor in the local knowledge panel. This feature inclusion in the local pack made reputation management a key tactic of the local SEO strategy.
Easier photo management using Google My Business
Google is making photo management on the local pack a lot easier. Whilst this is not a physical feature change to the local pack, it will help business owners to make their local panel look a lot more attractive. Basically, Google is replacing the photo categories with tags in the Google My Business. It has also added a new way to post your cover photo, the profile photo and a your company’s logo. This means the local business owners have more flexibility and ease of use.
Other feature changes in Google My Business
Other than above significant changes, Google has been very busy with its local knowledge panel. For more details please refer to this page. Here are some of the changes that stood out for us,
- You can get location insights via the new Google My Business API
- You can now get insights on how your photos perform compared with photos of businesses like yours.
- You can edit attributes to include offerings such as “has wi-fi” and “offers outdoor seating” to tell customers more about your business.
- You can now see live data in the popular times graph for eligible businesses, showing customers how busy a location is at the moment.
Looking at the recent changes and new local features timeline stated above, it is clear how serious is Google about local.
If you are looking to adapt and progress with these changes by Google and win the local SEO race, then feel free to talk to one of our local SEO experts here at Tamar. If you’re a business with a focus on local enquiries, then we can make sure that you are making most of the features available in the Google local pack.