Until yesterday, Google was testing these major changes on the Firefox browser only. Today they expanded to all browsers. The link below shows the difference between before and after and its effect.
I’d highly recommend to review this 4 minute demo by Social Media Director JD Rucker, explaining the changes:
We’re seeing three major changes:
1. Display and location of the Google map on a search
2. The order of the Search Engine Research Page (SERP) has changed
What this means for auto dealers: having strong organic SEO has increased drastically in importance since the dealers with the strongest organic ranking show up the highest. A dealer working in a metro with a lot of competition may not even show up on page 1 anymore and will see a drastic drop in Internet traffic.
3. (the big one) reviews are now visible and persistent on the organic listings.
What this means for auto dealers: reputation management is becoming critical for dealers. Who would visit a website of a dealer with a one-star review when the next one has 5 stars?
Immediate action for auto dealers:
1. dealers that were once showing up on Google maps may suddenly be removed or replaced with other dealers who have better optimized websites. Basically, if you were #1 organically you are now #1 with Maps as well! Dealers that showed up on Google maps but didn’t have a strong SEO need to take action as they could see a drastic drop in traffic
2. Until now, dealers with a weak online reputation management weren’t exposed as much since it required effort to search the review sites. With these changes, reputation management is right in front of everyone and dealers will be exposed if their online reputation management is not on par with local competition.
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