Since the beginning of August, Google is displaying the results of local searches differently. What has changed, and what impact will this new display have on your points of sale?
The change introduced by Google affects the "Snack Pack" in the local search results. This window, which opened below the sponsored links, used to include the top seven (organic) search results under a small map. Each result included the store's name, its address, its telephone numbers and its business hours, as well as two small, clickable icons to go to the company's website and to find directions on Google Maps.
From seven points of sale down to three, with less information:
The new Snack Pack format has gone from seven search results to three. In addition, the results presented in this shorter list:
- no longer include the Google Plus pages;
- no longer give the full address, just the street name;
- no longer indicate the telephone number.
However, the "Call" option remains accessible if the search is made from a smartphone.
The information that no longer appears in the Snack Pack is still accessible to Internet users if they click on the search result itself. On a desktop, clicking on one of the shops listed in the Snack Pack opens a new window. In this new window, the Snack Pack contains six points of sale.
On a mobile, clicking on a result opens a window with more information about the point of sale itself, taken from Google My Business.
And what about your web-to-store strategy?
As you can imagine, the most immediate consequence for your point of sale is increased competition to get into the top three search results, which is necessary if you hope to appear in the Snack Pack. To do this, the search engine optimisation strategy is still essentially the same:
- make sure that all of your points of sale are correctly and uniformly listed on Google My Business - check here how to do this;
- correctly list your points of sale on the local reference sites and directories;
- get a sufficient number of relevant comments on Google My Business and on the reference directories;
- optimise the store locator on your website, and create a separate web page for each point of sale.
What conclusions can we make from this?
The essential conclusion to make from this new situation is that it is now more important than ever to correctly list your points of sale, if you want to maintain an effective web-to-store presence. Competition is likely to intensify over the next few months. If you aren't already actively managing your local online presence, now is the time to get started!