Guest post by Chad Crowe.
The ubiquity of smartphones means that most consumers now begin their searches for local service providers online. They conduct research, look for the most convenient location, and read reviews from other customers before making a decision on which provider to use. This makes visibility in search engines like Google critical for local service businesses like doctors, lawyers, accountants, and marketing agencies.
Appearing at the top of the first page of Google’s search results drives a considerable amount of business for local service providers. This includes the highly-prized Map Pack – the list of three local results that appears above organic search listings. With a top “Map Pack” placement, consumers can easily see the business closest to them and begin to gather more information about their options. The Map Pack, along with a Google My Business listing, has been a boon for local businesses.
That was until Google updated its algorithm in 2016 and 2017. Google’s Possum update filtered Google My Business listings out of the Map Pack in order to diversify the results (Possum is the nickname given to this update by search engine optimization leaders).