Google is at it again! Their recent update dropped the very popular local 7-pack down to a 3-pack.
The image below shows you a search I did for “dentist in scottsdale“. And look what we see! In the maps, business listings section of googles first page, you see ONLY 3 business results, not the standard 7 we’ve seen for a long time.
It just got way more competitive! If you are not listed in the top 3 in the Local (maps section) your practice will not get much visibility anymore, unless people don’t like the 3 listings and then choose to click on More dentist.
With over 200 local ranking factors, it will be more challenging than ever for dentists to attain the coveted top 3 spots. But, for the dentists who are doing SEO, this will be a huge competitive advantage that will allow you to get all the phone calls over the dentists who are not ranked in top 3.
As I’ve said before google does dozens and dozens of updates, and a handful of major updates that rock the rankings landscape for hundreds of thousands of local businesses; but this update has even us SEO’s frustrated.
Over at Search Engine Land you can read top-notch, search engine optimization experts talking about this recent google local update.
Also in recent news, the social network Google+ is dying.
This is googles third attempt at a social network, the others being, Orkut, then Google Buzz, never even got going.
Thank god Youtube will go back to being just a google account, and not linked to your google+ profile.
In the near future, even posting in G+ will not be relevant.
You will no longer see the businesses phone number listed. You will need to click through to get it, so searchers will have to do a little more work to contact the business.
Is this good or bad? You make the decision.
Also, gone is the link to the google+ business page, as well as the city, state and zip code.
The dust hasn’t settled yet, but you may see some google business pages ranking in the 3-pack that have no business being there. Again, google has stirred up a mini-tornado, and it will need to dissipate before we see the correct pages ranking.