BIG CHANGES WITH GOOGLE LOCAL SEARCH REQUIRE A MORE BALANCED LOCAL SEO APPROACH (August 2015)
The Local Stack 3 Pack was not an algorithmic change so if you previously ranked in the #1, #2 or #3 position, great for you. If you did notice a change in your local rankings it’s not because of the Local Stack update. All this update is effecting is the display and how your listing is featured. For example, the phone numbers and street addresses are removed.
NOW THAT GOOGLE IS MOVING TOWARDS MONETIZING LOCAL SEARCH, WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
1. Don’t Have a One Sided Local SEO Strategy (aka do not put all your eggs in one basket)
If there is one thing I know and can predict with 100% certainty, Google is going to change. Focusing only on Local Search (maps) is a bad idea just like those businesses who only focused on Google Adwords are now paying astronomical sums for those Pay Per Clicks because it’s an auction and everyone is competing for the same click.
A more balanced approached to Local SEO is required that will allow you to rank organically for dozens of local (geo-coded) long tail keywords by following best practices for website on-page seo, content marketing & video seo. The good news is that if you rank high organically you’re also very likely to rank locally (if properly optimized for local).
2. Make sure you are actively building and marketing your Online Reputation.
If you’re a buyer and you see 3 local listings and then click one of them, you are now taken to another Google page where you will see 10 other competitors in a new left panel. You can bet you are going to glance at their reviews AND if another business that happened to rank lower in that list has more Review Authority than your business, you can expect to lose some traffic to them and conversely, if you have a better 5 Star Reputation – you will steal clicks away from their searches too.
So its pretty clear now that your Online Reputation is going to be the basis of your BRAND. You must build and market your Online Reputation to succeed or you will get left behind.