Since last October (2010) Google has been displaying local results (Google Places) high in their ‘standard’ organic results.  As a result many websites that previously enjoyed a page one ranking have seen their site disappear  from page one and be pushed further down the ranking order!  This will undoubtedly mean less traffic, and less enquiries / sales from the website.

So, what’s the problem?

In the screenshot below you will see the Google results for the search term ‘shoes in Crawley’.  Only one ‘organic’ search result (highlighted in green) can be seen without scrolling down the results page. 

Google search results - shoes in crawley

The top 7 results are all Google Places results.  Because I included a location in my search term – and most people looking for something do! – Google has decided that I want to see the local results first.

There is also a helpful ‘Places’ (local) map at the top right  of the results.  Google has automatically assumed that because I used a location in my search query that I will want to actually visit shoe shops in Crawley and believes that showing me a map is adding value for me.

We will not waste time debating about whether value has been added by the map or not but what is important is that businesses understand what is happening in the search world and how it is affecting their own online visibility – both organic and paid search is affected (the map takes up space normally occupied by PPC ad’s!).  

Google certainly seems to be delivering more and more ‘local’ results on page one of it’s results.  There is also evidence that even more local search results are returned if the search is made by a mobile device (i-Phone / Android etc).  The chances are that your site visitor levels in 2011 will be down  unless you take action.

What can we do about it?:

• Make sure you have a Google Places listing for every shop, branch, office or outlet that you have.

• Review all your current keywords / keyword phrases.  Do a Google search on all your primary keywords and see where your site is ranked for each one – refine / localise your keyword phrases as necessary.

 • Make sure your site is in position one or two – seek professional support from qualified internet marketing experts such as WSI IMS to do everything possible to ensure your site sits at the very top of the search engine results pages for your primary keyword phrases.

• Be innovative – don’t just rely on your website pages.  The Google results now include many different entries as well as web pages e.g. Images, Videos, News, Products etc.  Use all or some of these as appropriate.

• Consider Paid Search (PPC advertising).

• Optimise your web pages for  Long Tailed Keywords –  A broad generic keyword phrase like ‘shoes in Crawley’ will return local results but a longer tailed keyword search such as  ‘mens casual shoes in Crawley’ does not:

If you would like more information about our Search Engine Optimisation services please leave a message below or visit WSI IMS – WSI Internet Marketing Services for business in Surrey, Sussex & throughout the South East of England.

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