The Downfall Of Google+ And What It Means For Local SEO

Even the most-experienced SEO experts must learn how to adapt to the changes Google makes in their search engine algorithms. Staying up-to-date on Google’s latest trends and changes will allow you to remain ahead of the game when it comes to planning your digital marketing strategies. We’ll catch you up on the downfall of Google+ and how this will impact how travel shoppers find your property.

Laptop and phone

What You Need to Know About Local SEO:

If local search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t already a specific part of your digital marketing budget and activities, start implementing it today. Local SEO has traditionally been the realm of smaller, local businesses, like your plumber or cabinet maker. It was only in the past few years that bigger and multi-national brands have discovered the advantages of local list management and hotels and hospitality-related businesses can benefit more than most.

Whether you manage a one-of-a-kind boutique resort or are part of a worldwide hotel chain, it wouldn’t hurt to be ranked for local searches both visitors and locals have a tendency to use.

Aim to be listed in your city’s results for search-terms like “2 bedroom hotel suite in…” and “4 star hotels in…”

SEO and your hotel

What’s This About Google+’s Demise?

You’ve probably heard rumblings that Google+ is dead – or at least is on the way out.

In their own blog post about changes to G+, Google admits “…we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink.”

Google Plus

Recent changes in local SEO results are yet another sign that G+ will no longer be the way we once knew it. Late last year, SEOs began reporting on the disappearance of G+ Local Pages and G+ Reviews from a Search Engine Results page (SERPs).

For Local SEO specialists, the changes were a bit of a surprise, considering that G+ Local Pages were the basis for their work. But they weren’t completely shocked, as Google rarely let’s anyone know about relevant changes that are about to take place.

How This Influences Local SEO Results

Google Results Image 1

Source – Google

Before these changes were made, a local search result linked to a G+ Local page and displayed reviews from that page directly in the SERP.

Unless your customers specifically look for your G+ Local page, chances are they won’t find it.

Instead, local results can appear in one of two ways.

1) For generic searches, like “hotel”, a limited panel is now displayed at the top of the organic results, which are listed below the paid ads. Only three results, called Stack Pack or “3-pack”, along with a call-to-action to get “More Places” is shown.

Clicking the call-to-action (CTA) throws you into a full-on Local Finder page listing up to 20 businesses and links to subsequent Results pages if more are needed.

Click on a business and you get the full, now familiar Knowledge Panel. It showcases the information that’s been entered through your Google My Business dashboard. For hotels and resorts, this can include the ability for users to Book a Room through one or more online applications, like Expedia.

Google Search Image 2

Source – Google

2) For specific or branded searches, like “Hilton Hotel”, the full Knowledge Panel is displayed to the right of search results, much like it did before the G+ change came into effect.

In summary, the disappearance of G+ Local Pages won’t harm your property, because your business isn’t the only one being affected. Due to these changes, ensure your property is using the “Google My Business” dashboard. This will allow you to deliver key business information to your customers in search results.

Google Image Results for SEO

Source – Google

Looking for more tips and SEO practices for your hotel website? Check out our free Beginner’s Guide to SEO to learn more.

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