What do a Panda, a Penguin, and a SnackPack have in common? Aside from being irresistibly cute, they’re all names of updates to Google’s search algorithms.
Google is by far the most popular search engine, holding a massive 66 percent market share. Understanding the impact of Google updates will help your Calgary business thrive online, and SnackPack is the latest iteration. Fortunately, the changes with SnackPack won’t shake things up as drastically as the Penguin update.
Google’s SnackPack update is focused on local search results, which is one of the most important areas for small businesses to rank well in for search engine optimization. When you search for, say, “auto mechanic in Calgary,” local search ensures that your top-ranked results will be for mechanics who are actually nearby. You might also recognize the familiar red “pin” on the Google Maps image next to the results, which indicates the location of the businesses featured.
Now that we’ve got the what out of the way, this is how the SnackPack update will impact your online business in Calgary and beyond.
The SnackPack Means Local Search Is Getting Lean
Before SnackPack, local results from Google came in groups, or “packs”, of 3, 5, or 7 listings. So to land on the first page of search results, you had to aim to be in the top 7. SnackPack reduces the size of each pack to 3 listings, so search engine optimization (SEO) will play an even more important role than ever.
- The move to 3-packs means that it will now be more difficult to rank on the first page of local results consistently.
- The good news is that the 3-pack results rotate based on where the searcher is located. So while competition for the top spots will be high, you won’t have to constantly rank in the top 3 to get noticed.
- Geo-targeted content is one effective way to handle the SnackPack update, and it’s a pretty natural concept to integrate into content creation. The basic idea is that you weave mentions of your location into your content, which helps Google pair your service with the location where it’s offered.
No Contact Information, No Problem?
One of Google’s motivations with the SnackPack update was clearly to streamline the appearance of local search results. In addition to cutting down on the number of results shown, SnackPack also eliminates contact information on the results page. Instead of featuring a phone number and full address, local results now list the street where the business is located… and that’s it. Users cannot see your contact information without making another click.
- Where in the past a customer could simply click your number from their smartphone and make a call, they’ll now have to take an extra step before they can contact you.
- However, the lack of contact information can help when your listing doesn’t land in the top 3-pack. Searchers have to click to the larger, 20-listing map view to see contact information, which gives your business a second chance to catch their eye.
- Searchers can still click directly to your website from your 3-pack listing, so make sure they have an easy way to access contact information when they land on your site. You should be able to find a prominent space for location information on your homepage, as well as on your contact us page.
Why the Big Changes?
Mobile browsing is extremely popular, and every online property has had to adjust to the small screens of smartphones and tablets over the last few years. During the transition, we’ve learned that Internet users actually prefer the features most commonly associated with mobile browsing, which relies on a streamlined appearance, simple navigation, and often a user experience optimized for touch-screens.
So, the SnackPack update actually makes Google’s desktop search results look more like the search results you’d get on your smartphone. As with all Google updates, there are positives and negatives from a marketing perspective. In the end, local search remains very important for small businesses, and SnackPack means more focus on local search engine optimization.
Emphasize Design is here to help you handle the SnackPack update, and generate more online business in Calgary. Learn more about how we can help you attract quality leads with a full suite of effective inbound marketing services.