Google continues to dazzle us with new changes in the search results.
Recently, Google introduced Candidate Cards to let us follow U.S. presidential candidates and their election campaigns directly from the search engine result pages. Who knew that Google was planning to take it one step further and introduce a similar sort of feature for local businesses?
Anyway, now that it has, let’s talk more about it.
The new Google’s feature is unofficially named as Google’s Local Business Cards, and it looks like this in the search engine results pages.
But it is not just a cosmetic change.
We believe that this new Google’s Local Business Cards feature can have a significant impact on local searches and local businesses. More importantly, we believe that a host of similar changes are beckoning, and that will potentially change how we approach local SEO.
In this post, we are going to talk about it in detail and see what impact the Google’s Local Business Cards feature will have on local SEO and how you can utilize it to your advantage.
Here are a few things that we know about the Google’s Local Business Cards feature so far. Let’s have a brief recap before we move on to more advanced concepts and industry predictions:
The Google’s Local Business Cards feature is part of the Google Posts feature, which is currently in testing and hasn’t been finalized. Both these names, however, are unofficial. Google is not giving these two features any specific names.
The Google’s Local Business Card feature is a derivative of the Candidate Cards testing that began earlier this year.
The Google’s Local Business Card feature allows local businesses to promote some of their contents directly into the search engine result pages (SERPs) in the form of a card carousel (the one you saw earlier in the screenshot).
That card carousel can have promotional information and visual previews.
The card is also horizontally scrollable that allows search engine users to scroll and find other relevant information and pieces of contents about that business.
The other posts that are in the carousel are selected on the basis of keyword phrases the search engine users originally searched for and the popularity of the contents.
As you already know that the Knowledge Graph presents useful information about a local business or brand.
Some SEO experts and search engine users are seeing these two features in comparison to each other. However, that’s not the right way to see it.
These two features are not competing with each other. In fact, they are complementing each other.
The Knowledge Graph provides basic information about a business, but it fails to display specific contents or details about a company’s product or services. The Local Business Cards feature does exactly that.
Now, when you see these two different features in action together, you see a much better and well-rounded set of local business information being displayed on the web.
One of the most important highlights of the Google’s Local Business Cards feature is the way these cards get indexed.
And, in our opinion, this could mean a significant change in the way Google ranks different contents in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Traditionally, Google ranked contents on the basis of the following different factors:
Link Authority and Profile
NAP Citations (in case of local businesses)
Of course, there are many more factors that come into play, but these are the more important ones.
However, none of these factors are playing any role in ranking a local business in the Google’s Local Business Cards. The content is being ranked solely on the basis of popularity.
Does it mean that Google is finally taking a step towards decreasing the influence of backlinks in ranking content? It definitely looks like it. And depending on the way Google continues to move, we may see many more similar changes.
This could be huge for local SEO and SEO in general.
So what changes can we expect in the post Google’s Local cards era?
Here are a few predictions regarding the possible impact of this new feature:
We expect that this new feature will have a 50:50 impact on the web. It is because local businesses will continue to flourish because of this — if they take its advantage in the best possible way — but web-based businesses won’t get anything out of it. It means that the e-commerce industry — although a similar sort of business — won’t be able to take its advantage.
The internet has worked hard to promote remote and location-independent businesses. However, if search engines continue promote such features, businesses with brick-and-mortar locations will get better advantages than location-independent and web-based businesses.
Small local businesses without a full-fledged digital marketing team will definitely struggle to keep up with these search engine advancements. They may lose out on bigger local businesses with better budgets for digital marketing.
Digital marketers will rise in demand as they continue to flourish in a technical world. Most of Google’s recent changes seem complex for a layman and require professional help from a capable digital marketing team.
Service-area businesses who work independently will also take a hit.
Websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor may see a decline in their search engine positions.
If you are not seeing your contents in the Google’s Local Business Cards it is because you will have to apply for it. Not everybody is getting qualified, and you may also have to wait a bit before you hear anything.
But, still, it is important that you do. Click here to see if your business qualifies for this feature and to join the waiting list if it does.
What do you think about this new feature by Google? Do you think it will bring a significant change in the local search engine optimization world?
We’d love to know your thoughts in the comment section below. And if you have any questions about it, please feel free to reach out to us. The SEO Site Checkup team will be glad to help.