At the beginning of 2016, Google made the decision to get rid of its popular local 7-pack and reduce it down to a 3-pack. Now they are replacing one more organic local listing with a paid ad.
This means that you will now get an ad as well as the 2-pack. This is bad news for businesses as it means it will be much more difficult for them to appear organically at the top of the search results.
The highest bidder will be the owner of ad space!
All businesses now have the chanced of nabbing that all important third spot on Google’s original 3-pack. This is making it more difficult than it already is for businesses to reach the top 3.
Some experts argue that the new 2-pack will result in
Good, genuine businesses being penalized
Users having a worse search experience
A likely increase in grey tactics as businesses try desperately to get ahead of their competitors
Many claim that it is a big step backwards by the company. The search giant appears to be more concerned about profit rather than providing relevant, useful results.
If you’re a business owner, what can you do?
Unless your listings are already ranking highly, you may need to consider paying.
Paid AdWords campaigns are a great effective way to ensure you are showing up in relevant searches. The great thing about AdWords is you can control your budget. Limit the amount you’re willing to spend on AdWords campaigns each day and keep track of how certain keywords are working for you.
When done right, AdWords can be an incredibly successful and powerful marketing tool. Of course, the change also gives you the opportunity to gain more exposure in the top spots, providing you’re willing to spend more. You could end up occupying the top organic spot and the top paid spot if you work hard enough.
The change to the Google 3-pack is going to present more challenges to local businesses overall. However, you can limit the damage, as well as gain the competitive advantage simply by leveraging the power of AdWords campaigns.