Google didn’t make an announcement warning marketers that they need to change their SEO strategies for local search to keep up with a recent update, but publishers took notice anyway. In a Google forum thread, Jade Wang reported the search engine had already received several questions about the removal of the “More results near…” link from its local search user interface.
Before the link was removed, internet users could expand local search results if the first suggested listing didn’t quite hit the mark. For instance, a person conducting a search for “pizza” in Chicago might actually be hoping to come across the name of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that he or she knows about, but can’t seem to remember. Top local search results may not generate that listing if it doesn’t have a prominent web presence, instead prioritizing popular restaurants with high-traffic websites.
If companies want their contact data displayed in local search queries, they must follow SEO best practices and adjust their content marketing strategies as updates are introduced. This change might be an indicator that Google+ presences are becoming even more important for the major search engine, and businesses without active social presences may not rank at all in SERPs.
It’s likely that Google+ accounts will only gain more significance in companies’ social media marketing campaigns and SEO success in the future. Recent whispers about the search engine’s AuthorRank technology have already put marketers on the offense.
Wang also explained that this is just one of many updates Google has up its sleeve. “We’re working on [several updates] to improve the local search experience, with the goal of more seamless exploration of places and more integration of local data,” she wrote.
Agile marketers can stay ahead of these updates by creating dynamic content marketing plans that can be adjusted to reflect emerging trends.