In one of our recent blog posts we made predictions on Google’s next move with Local, but no one would have predicted the new update with Google's local pack. Google’s new local pack is displaying less results and has removed addresses and phone numbers from desktop search results. After reading numerous blogs about the implications this update may have on local businesses, I have yet to see anyone answer an even bigger question: Will Google’s newest update encourage searchers to start using Bing?
Bing has long been the forgotten understudy of the search giant, however consumers and businesses alike are not happy about Google’s newest update. According to Search Engine Land, Bing has hit 20% of the market share in the US and maybe after this new update that percentage will increase.
Let's take a look at Google’s new local pack:
Now let’s compare that to Bing’s:
The differences we see between the packs are the amount of results as well as the breadth of information available with these searches. With Google releasing its own study stating an increase of “near me” searches, we wonder: why would they reduce the information they are providing to searchers? And what does this mean for your brand’s local presence?
We know the importance of remaining visible on Google's search engines, but now marketers must pay attention to the once forgotten search engine, Bing. It isn’t time to abandon ship with Google SEO just yet, but it might be worthwhile to check your standing on other of the major “Big Six” search engines such as Bing and Yahoo while developing an optimization strategy. Keep these tips in mind:
1. Use Schema Markup
Both Google and Bing rely on schema markup to understand the meaning of page content, allowing them properly index the content within your pages. Search Engine Land conducted a study that found 36.6% of Google’s search results included information derived from Schema Markup, however only 0.3% of domains are using it. Highlight keywords to your pages with Schema and you’ll be sure to outrank your competition and bring more searchers to your pages, and ultimately your store.
2. Create Local Pages
Having a branded local page for every location is the most important online real estate your brand can own. Not only will it provide all of the necessary information your consumers are looking for, but creating local pages and tying them with local advertising campaigns greatly improves visibility for both search engines. Notice for both search engines the first result under the search bar is an advertisement, and creating local advertisements tied to local pages not only reduces the cost of your CTR, but improves the chance your ad will appear first.
3. Claim Store Locations on Listings
Claiming your location across various listings greatly improves your online visibility. The more locations your store is claimed on, the more opportunities it has to appear on both search engines. Keep in mind, claiming locations is different than syndicating information to various listings. Listings like Google and Yelp require manually claiming, ensuring one by one that your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) information is accurate.
While we can’t predict if a large amount of searchers will make the switch from Google to Bing based on this update, we do know that consumer behaviors are constantly evolving. As a marketer, your job is to ensure your brand is visible wherever your customers go. Maintaining local presence for one search engine, let alone two, can seem like an overwhelming task so we’ve simplified the steps for you with our Local, Loyal, Loved infographic.