The New Google Snack Pack and What it Means to You
For many years, when someone searched for a business or a service on their desktops, seven results would appear in what is called the “Map Pack” section. These results included addresses, phone numbers, reviews, and the company’s website. We noticed that on August 7, 2015, Google made a huge change to the “Map Pack” and this is impacting MOST businesses. You see, Google changed this set-up so that desktop users would have the same experience as mobile users. This is a HUGE change, meaning that instead of seven results appearing in the search, there will only be three. In fact, we’re calling this the “Snack Pack” in the marketing community.
How This Affects You
It should always be your goal to be in the “Map Pack” section of Google as this area receives much of the clicks, which results in traffic (and new customers) for those businesses showing up here. As you may have guessed, with Google reducing the number of total businesses located in this area to less than HALF of what it was before, getting to the top just became MUCH more competitive. This change made by Google means that it’s much more important to make your website stand out among the competition more than ever before.
The Other Changes
In addition to reducing the amount of companies that appear in the Google map pack, some of the other changes that have been incorporated into this new search update are the ways that a company in the top three (and further down in the ‘see more’ list) is displayed. The way that a company is now displayed on Google is going to affect the way that prospective customers and clients find your business and it’s important for you, as a business owner, to know what these changes are and how to make them work in your business’ favor.
The image above is an example of how a search would appear in the map section of Google before the August 7, 2015 change. The image below is an example of the new appearance of Google results in the ‘Maps’ section of the search results page. This is now being referred to as the Google Snack Pack
While these two images might be similar in their content, the differences are important to note, especially since the change is going to alter how companies must be marketed on Google in order to be competitive. The two largest changes in the view that may affect business are the way that your company’s address is displayed and the fact that company phone numbers no longer appear in the listing itself.
One change that cannot be seen in the search listings, but will affect restaurants and other companies in the food service industry is the new filter system that allows customers searching for restaurants to select what results they want to see based on Ratings, Cuisine, Price, and Hours.
What Can You Do for Your Businesses
Now that there are only three spots that appear on the first page of the Google map pack those spots can become very competitive, but that can be a GOOD thing for smaller companies that have been trying to move up in the results. With this change to Google, there is an opportunity for companies to use SEO and strategic marketing to outrank those companies that have been relaxing in the top spots for what may have been several years. The two easiest ways to push your business to the top of the search results are:
- Optimize your company’s website. Now that phone numbers are no longer in the Google listing, prospective customers will have to click on the website in order to retrieve a company’s phone number. If a website is unappealing or unorganized then visitors are likely to leave and not even take the time look for a phone number. Having an appealing website does two things that will benefit your company with this new Google update. The first benefit; the longer a person stays on your website, the more likely your website is to rise in the search results page of Google so that customers will come across you earlier in their searches. The second benefit; if a customer comes to your website for a phone number and finds something that appeals to them then they are more likely to spend more time with your company for services or products.
- Encourage your customers to write reviews. Consider offering your customers incentives for leaving reviews about your company. Reviews will show prospective customers that others have enjoyed their experience with you and the number of reviews will appear in the Google results and can help you to rise in the listings.
Overall, the updates that Google has made with the map pack may seem discouraging at first, but as with any change, it’s important to use these changes to your business’ benefit. To take full advantage of these changes and make your company stand out among the competition, call the proven professionals at Spark Local Marketing who will walk you through every step of these changes as well as any future changes. Contact Spark Local Marketing at (864) 477-2111 or visit our website at http://www.sparklocalmarketing.com/.