November 10, 2016

Why Google Decimated the Local 3-Pack & How to Protect Yourself

Google made a major change to the Local 3-Pack. Why? What should you do about this, if anything? Some SEOs awoke to a nasty surprise on Friday, September 2. Others shouted in jubilation! What happened this time? Google made an update to the Local 3-Pack. You’ve seen it many times before. It looks like this:

google-local-3-pack-fw

Anyway, as you’d expect, those 3 listings get the most clicks out of any organic listing on a search results page. So when anything changes with the Local 3-Pack, it’s going to be big news among SEOs.

What Did Google Do This Time?

Preliminarily, SEOs think Google made a change to their spam part of their algorithm. No one has any specifics at this point.

But for now, some comments suggest local SMBs like chiropractors and locksmiths have seen big changes. In the case of locksmiths especially, those in the know have been aware of spammy and deceptive SEO practices.

And in my personal experience, Google’s cracked down and removed many businesses with executive suite addresses from the Local 3-Pack. To regain your good standing, they want you to show them a picture of your storefront with your company sign and name on it.

In other words, they want you to have your own real physical location where you meet customers. They don’t want you to simply get an office address you hand them so you can rank locally.

The idea doesn’t apply exclusively to locksmiths. That’s just an example where SEO pros have seen change.

It’s going to apply to every local professional service… lawyers, accountants, you name it.

Don’t Mess with Google – Follow Their Best Practices

Now, you can argue that having an executive suite doesn’t make you an “illegitimate” local SMB. Unfortunately, you won’t get far with Google on that one.

It’s impossible to always predict what Google’s going to do next.

For goodness sake, their own engineers don’t even know half the time!

So, the best you can do is have a sharp SEO expert you can trust on your side.

They may not stay with Google’s updates perfectly.

But, they will keep you out of the most unnecessary trouble possible so you don’t lose your good search rankings and spend months, or a year, recovering them.

Google's Algorithm Updates
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