Tweet So it appears that the new Google Local SERPs are imminent. As you may recall, my initial take on this pending event was that it spelled doom for the Yellow Pages and local directories biz. So I thought I’d take you for a spin through these new SERPs and see what we can see:
- You’d Better Be In the Top 3 The first image is the current “old” Local SERP. The next one is of the new Local SERPs. The top 3 organic listings have been moved up from below the 7 pack to the first three listings. This should be a net positive for those sites that rank in the top 3. For those that don’t, they are now pushed even further down the page.
- Local Businesses With Strong SEO Get an “A+ Listing” In the old SERP, Empire Dental Group ranked in position E in the 7 pack and in position #2 in the Web results under the 7 pack. In the new SERP, Empire Dental Group is now position A in the Place Page listings. I believe that the #3 Web listing and the position A listing have been merged because the business ranked strongly in both (aka the “A+ Listing”). I am not sure yet, but it seems like in the case where there is more than one local business in the top Web results, then the SERP shows a full list of Place Pages listings before it shows any Web results. See the below “Plumber San Francisco” SERP for an example.
- Local Directories Better Start Generating Reviews While I most definitely think the new SERP is going to screw with traffic to local directories in a big way, it appears that GOOG made some efforts to throw them a bone or two. As you can see, there are numerous links to various local directories throughout the Place Page listings highlighting the number of reviews from each publisher. I haven’t been able to spot any of these links that weren’t from reviews sites so all of you yellow pages publishers that have been reluctant and/or haven’t figured out a good way to get into reviews, it appears that reviews are going to be the main way now for directories to get organic traffic from local SERPs. Another way to interpret this: Google wants your content and they want it now.
Deep Thought: SMBs that rank at the bottom of the 7 pack but are close to page one in the Web results could do some serious linkbuilding, and pull themselves up to the top of the SERP while booting out the directories at the same time.