Most any well trained SEO can see that local search is becoming more and more important in Google’s search results pages. Over the last year, we have started to see more and more three packs and seven packs appear for localized queries. As Google recognizes that small businesses are competing in the online marketplace, they have changed their search results to display a local section with maps and reviews. This has made things much easier for the consumer who is trying to find the best localized product or service. For any SEO, this has been a hard to measure and constantly changing process.
Now, Google has changed its localized listings again to incorporate Google+ and Zagat reviews in what it is calling Google+ Local. This change is again in favor of the consumer to provide them with even more results and functionality similar to their Google+ profile. Google has stated this is a change for the better in showing localized results, but it will likely confuse users and business owners.
As a business owner, you must make sure you are keeping a close eye on your Google Places (now Google+ Local) page. We do not know exactly how local listings are calculated within Google’s search algorithm, but we do know that they have become a large factor in search results. If Google can determine that a user’s query deserves a localized listing (see SEO: What is QDGP?), then you need to have your business represented.
For more information or help with your business’s Google+ Local page, give us a call.