Google’s Latest Changes Creates Competitive Environment for Local SEO

Google's changes make it more difficult for local businesses to be found by potential customers. One business insiders offers a solution.

Brick and mortar businesses that don’t rely on local SEO to attract new customers put themselves at a huge disadvantage because most consumers find the shops and restaurants they’re looking for online. And as recently as last August, Google showed seven search results for every local query. For example, if someone searched for “sandwich shop San Antonio,” they would see seven results in what was called the 7-pack.

But Google has since decreased the 7-pack to a 3-pack. In other words, if someone searched for that sandwich shop in San Antonio today, they would only see 3 results, and if they wanted to see more, they would have to physically expand the results, something most people aren’t likely to do.

“It’s created a very competitive atmosphere,” says a spokesman from FindUsLocal, an online local search directory. “Local SEO is the lifeblood of many local businesses, and unless they can figure out how to be seen in the new 3-pack, they’re likely to lose a lot of business.”

And many experts are concerned that it’s only going to get more difficult for local business owners to turn up in the Google search engine results. “Recently, Google did something else that makes it even more difficult for local businesses to show up organically in the search engine results,” the expert explained. “It’s allowing ads to be shown in the Local Finder results, and that means there’s less space there for organic results.”

Some local business owners are throwing their hands up in frustration and looking for other ways to get their business in front the eyes of online searchers. Some are turning to local business directories, which are places where consumers can search out the type of business they want in their area. “It’s smart to list your business on local directories,” says the spokesman. “Because before long, it may be next to impossible for potential customers to find you on Google.”

About FindUsLocal: FindUsLocal uses geolocation technology in visitor’s browsers to construct a home page focused on their city, town or community. Right there on the front page, they’ll find local weather, sports results for their favorite teams, and announcements of the top musical acts and events coming to their city. Smart business owners list their businesses on the site to be seen by those who are specifically looking for businesses in their local area.

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