Google has upgraded their local search results and the Grey pinned results are now live. Note in the screen shot that the branded One Box search now shows either 4 images or a streetview and 2 images. The grey “Feedback” link at the lower right takes the user directly to the Report a Problem input screen.
With the rollout of the new grey pin local search results, Google has continued to increase the amount of information from your Places page that is visible in the main search results.
Google is prepared to turn over to your company the better part of the information above the fold and with a little work and some luck you can maximize what the searcher sees about your business.
Click to view larger:
Here are 8 tips that help you maximize “your ad” on the front page of Google:
1)Select the title tag of your home page with care. If you service only one city, it is no longer necessary to include the city in your title tag of your home page. Google is using other location signals to ascertain this information. Personally, I think that brand often trumps keywords in local markets. When that is the case I put I put the company name first which creates a strong, clean branded visual for the user. The brand is front and center in the results.
2)With the addition of Sitelinks Google provides 6 (it can be 12 but I have yet to see that many in local) or more additional opportunities to engage the customer. It is important for the pages that display to front load the description tags with the call to action and keep them short as there are very few characters (54?) that actually display.
3)Which pages show and title tags show and why is a bit of mystery so you want to be sure to monitor what is actually showing. It means that you want to be sure to NOINDEX pages that you definitely don’t want Google to have, like your 404 page. If a page does show up that you don’t want showing in this display but you don’t want to NOINDEX the page it might be necessary to demote the page from Sitelinks via the Webmaster tools. REGARDLESS, it means that even pages that you didn’t think would see much light might need to be updated with more relevant Titles and Description tags. Google changes what shows so review the display periodically.
4)Know what other IYP or Local Directories are doing a good job on the long tail branded search for your business name and be sure that you have maximized your presence with them. That might include data, photos and if appropriate reviews.
5)Google puts their reviews front and center so including Google in your review management process goes without saying. But since Google will be showing other review sites as well it makes sense to include them in your process.
6)Google also might surface rich snippet testimonials from your site. If you have testimonials be sure that they are marked up and the testimonial page has enough internal links that Google sees the page as a prominent one.
Google has just upgraded the Branded Onebox display to allow the user to more easily view either a (very large) thumbnail preview of site or a map. The result defaults to the Map but there is an obvious arrow to guide the user to the preview mode. The preview is significantly larger than the standard preview taking up all of the room of the Map ad then some.
One will now need to go back to the Senators hearing testimony from Google and inform them that Google is now showing the Map less often. Perhaps this is the voluntary remedy that they had in mind. Take that Yelp!
This change though doesn’t just affect results that shows Maps. It enlarges the preview for any and all results.
Click to view as animated gif:
Today is a new day and brings an apparently new display to the Branded Onebox display in the main search results. As Daniel Sheehan noted several weeks ago in the post about the change away from photos in the display, “When it comes to Google Places it seems that there is no normal. There are just short lived tests and longer tests.”
Slightly after midday yesterday (when the second screen shot was taken) Google changed the branded Onebox display to now include the image from the Places page and placing the map to the far right. Here is a screen shot from this morning and yesterday afternoon:
Sometime over this past weekend Google stopped showing any review snippet with either Blended or the Branded One Box Results in the main search results view for many results. It appears that snippets are still visible in restaurants, hotels and possibly other heavily reviewed areas
Review snippets have also been removed from most typical blended results (again with the exception of restaurants/hotels). This change seems consistent with the recent change to remove the images from the Blended results that occurred earlier in the month and effectively moves more information above the fold. Review snippets were first seen in the Google Blended results tests that ran last summer and were a regular part of the results since the Blended results were formally released in late October of last year. For me, they were a salient feature that dramatically changed the role of reviews in reputation management bringing a “typical review” front and center for all to see. The review snippets were derived via algo and were intended to provide a representative flavor of the review corpus. As in my example above, the snippets were not always accurate. While I don’t think that was a reason in their demise, I am sure some businesses will be grateful they are gone.