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August 27th, 2016

It's getting harder and harder for your local website to be found on the first page of Google search results. That's by design (by Google). Google makes money by people paying them for pay per click advertising. Google doesn't make a penny when your website is found on their first page organically. So of course Google is trying to minify the effects of local SEO.

The first page of Google is broken up into 3 distinct category areas. The top is reserved for people who pay for their ads to show (pay per click or Adwords advertising). The middle section is reserved for local listings and the last part is reserved for organic listings. At least that's how it used to be.

What Google has done is shrink the local listings and shrink the organic listings. Google local listings used to have 7 offerings with a link to open a larger local listings page. Now Google has shrunk that down to 3 local listings. So it's important to optimize your Google my Business page so you can hopefully show in these top three listings and show on the front page. There is also talk of shrinking this again to 2 local listings. Geez.

Front Page Local Search Listings Are Getting Squeezed

Organic search results have also been shrunk. In the old (and I mean old) days you would show up on the front page of Google as long as you were in the top 10 or so in your field. Now when you search for a local company you will find the search results are crammed with links to other links. For example, let's say you want to find a plumber in Leonard, MI. I actually have a plumbing site I've designed for a plumber in Leonard MI. Addison Plumbing of Leonard MI. When you do a search you will find Addison Plumbing but you will also find (cluttering up the page, I might add) listings for Yp.com, Angies list, Service Magic (Now Home Advisor.......and look for all of the complaints there, geez) and a bunch of other directories. So, instead of showing you a whole page of plumbers that service the Leonard, MI area you might get two plumbing sites and everything else will be directories and the like. So now you must be in the top two or three search results to even show up on the first page of Google search results.

Also, Google is showing ads on the right side of the first page and, if you can believe it, they are showing MORE pay per click ads/sites on the bottom of the page now too. Unbelievable.

I have found that I can do most everything I need to do to show up first in organic results (and most of the websites I manage do show up on the first page of Google multiple times) but still not show ahead of websites that really aren't as relevant to the search inquiry.....

Google provides a great service to people in that they show search results for your inquiry but they don't make any money from organic or local listings so of course Google is going to start shrinking those areas and increasing the amount of space given to "paid" listings. This makes economic sense for them but does not service the Internet community as a whole.

Now, if Google could just strip away all of the directories that are listed on the first page and mainly show websites that are most relevant to a local search then the results would still be good quality. But with all of the ads and directories that show up on the first page of Google, it makes it almost (and I do mean almost, not entirely) useless. (Useless might be a strong term, maybe just low quality.....). Just my informed opinion.

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