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August 24, 2011, 5:29 pm UTC
The nature of Google’s SERP (search engine result pages) is undergoing a serious change, and it is not Google that is doing so. Google has merely facilitated the change. It is the small business marketer who is making the Google SERP takes the shape it is taking.
As mentioned above, the change I am talking here is related to organization of Google SERP. We all know that Google lists Google Map listing of local business towards the top in its SERP for geo-targeted keywords. But what has recently surprised me is the number of such listings in Google SERP. For some local keywords like “New Delhi Florist” and “New Delhi Car”, Google displays as many as 7-8 local business listings pushing the web page listings far below.
Why should one be concerned
Many studies have been conducted to understand Google SERP Click through rate, and it was found that majority of people click on top listing and do not bother to go towards the bottom. A small business which doesn’t have Google Map present should be concerned because by pushing your listings down, the companies listed in Google Map are stripping you of an opportunity to get clicked in Google SERP.
If you will do a search of “New Delhi Florist” in Google, you will notice that only 6 organic web pages are listed on the first page, which contains 16 + 9 listings (16 in the body and 9 in the sidebar). It means that a small business which has not optimized its page for Google Map will not get traffic as a large percentage of searchers will not reach you.
On the page, you will notice one more interesting thing, which is a visual map listing in the sidebar, which remains static when you scroll the page (See image).
It has made it difficult for normal web page to get towards the top. But all is not lost because on the SERP page of “New Delhi Florist” keyword phrase, you will see that there is one organic website listing below the Ads and above Google Map listing. It, essentially, means that number one will still get to the top.
But the question is will it get clicked?
I think, on such a SERP like the one produced for “New Delhi Florist”, it is hard to focus on or see the “number one” organic listing, as it is visually crowded by colors of sponsored ad, icons of Google map listing, and Google map image in the sidebar. So I will not place my bet on organic listing on such pages.
What should a small business do?
As evident from above, location-specific keywords get visually heavy. In that light, it appears that getting listed for various geo-targeted (city or location specific) local business keywords in Google Map is the only way to get customers from Google.
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