Posted by: Cameron M | 11/24/2010

How Google’s New Local SERP Has Affected Your Ranking

“While going through dozens of various local searches, there were a few things that stood out:

  • Directory listings appear to be showing up more frequently in local results, in some cases taking up the top 3 spots in results.
  • The 7-Pack, or rather one-line business listings similar to the old 7-Pack, aren’t gone entirely. Lettered results still tend to show up when Google isn’t entirely sure you’re trying to do a local search. Typically, this happens in searches for smaller cities or regions.
  • When using rank-checking tools, the one-lined, lettered listings won’t be counted – just like before. The larger results being discussed here, however, are treated just as normal organic results prior to the change, completely disregarding the letter and local information assigned to it.
  • Lastly, while I encountered plenty of websites on the first page without a Places page, I encountered very few Places page ranking on the first page without a website. Prior to the change, it was not uncommon to regularly see local listings with no associated website ranking in the 7-pack. Now it appears that, without a website, it is nearly impossible to be in the first page of Google’s general SERP for most searches.

What Does This Mean?

So what can we learn from all this? Basically, it’s just what Google said all along – everything is important. Your best bet is to have both a terrifically optimized website and an optimized, claimed Places page to associate with it.

Not only does Google seem to use a Places page as an organic ranking factor, but having one also gives you nearly twice the real estate devoted to your business in the results. Instead of just having a few words in your title tag and meta description to sell your business, you now have your address, phone number, reviews, lists of other websites that mention you, and even a picture to draw attention to your website.”

SEOmoz | YOUmoz – How Google’s New Local SERP Affected Your Ranking.

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