Have you noticed a change in your Google Placement? If so, it’s important to note that the beginning of September 2016 brought about some changes to both Local Maps / 3 (and sometimes 2) Pack and also Organic Listings.
Google hasn’t offered much input on these changes other than to say they are “Always working to improve things!” Which may be one of the reasons Local and SEO experts have dubbed these early September changes the “Possum Release.”
If you are not experiencing the amount of bookings from Google that you typically see in an average September, it may be time to consider getting some help to see if there are Google Rules and Guidelines you might be violating.
Though there are a variety of different types of placement changes we’ve seen with this early September release, the two we find to be the most notable are:
Group and Directory sites are once again enjoying top organic placement above individual Inn sites in most cases where the search includes both city + state + Bed and Breakfast.
If you’ve been following Google long, you have seen these Group and Directory sites come and go above individual Inn listings over the years. I’ve personally been watching these roller-coaster results go back and forth since 2002 when I was still Innkeeping. I remember it because it was right before Thanksgiving, and all of us individual Inns dropped, and directories got ahead of us, and it stayed that way until the New Year. It was definitely not the best gift Google could have given all us Inn owners right before the holidays.
Though this may be the current state of affairs, if history repeats itself, it won’t be this way in the future. My best advice for now? If you can’t beat them, join them. Make sure you are included in any of the Directories and Groups showing above you that you feel are appropriate for your business.
NOTE ON MOBILE RESULTS
If you do these same types of searches with city + state + Bed and Breakfast on a Mobile phone or in a Mobile browser, again with clean cache, cookies and being logged out of Google, you may see even MORE Directories and Groups before you run across the first Individual Inn site — as compared to what you are seeing displayed in the Desktop Results with the same search phrases.
Business owners who haven’t been totally honest (knowingly or unknowingly) at getting placement in the Local Maps Listings and the 3 (sometimes 2) Pack with duplicate listings, multiple phone numbers on multiple accounts, name stuffed with descriptors and other local spam tactics are not being seen as prominently as they may have been before or possibly not at all. Google is filtering out results that they don’t feel are appropriate.
Remember, if you are not participating in an OTA, you will not see any room pricing in the 3 (sometimes 2) Pack or the Local Maps listings. If you are participating, then the filter dates must match your availability, or again the pricing will not show. Finally, Google previously displayed the wording “Visit Website” for any Inn that didn’t have OTA availability. As of September 23, 2016, that link has been removed from Google Search Results.
So even if you “think” you are following Googles rules, if you’ve disappeared or fallen in either the Organic or Local search results, you are going to want to “think” again and get some professional help to determine the nature of your Digital Baggage so you can once again get back into Google’s good graces.
What to do if you think you need HELP…
We are the best in our industry when it comes to untangling Google messes.
Call us at 877-226-7699 to schedule a consult.