Google Local - Changing Search Landscapes Call for Brands to Evolve
Google has released another new search results page layout for local search. Pulling from Google Places listings, users will find a large graphic display to the right of the organic search result. These new displays can include a link to directions to the location, a map, photos of the business and a list of links pointing to reviews of the business. This condensed version of a brand's Google Places listing appears prominently at the top of the search results page. As with any new feature, this will draw the attention away from the old (organic search), meaning your Google Places listing is as important as ever.
While this is a great feature for customers searching for your site, it causes some issues for you as a brand. Searchers can get practically all the info they need about your business without ever visiting your Website. SEO no longer applies to Websites only, optimizing your social media and local search presence is also important.
This will also affect your PPC campaigns, as Paid Ads are appearing under the new local search results, often below the fold on the page. This will reduce the value of ads, as most searchers don't scroll down looking for ads.
While this new layout offers promise and efficiency for searchers, it certainly means brands need to adjust. Updating and optimizing your Google Places listing is now a necessity, not just a valuable measure. As search engines continue to adapt and improve for the searchers, it's up to brands to take note and evolve.