At the end of last year, I asked, “Is the Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) Listing Replacing the Local Business Website?” It seems I should have asked, “Is Google Replacing the Website?”
I’m not the only one thinking this. Here’s a conversation between David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal about “Google’s Path to Becoming the Transaction Layer of the Web.”
In November 2017, Rand Fishkin revealed this scary thought in a Whiteboard Friday. He mentioned how local SERPs have been getting so smart that they “remove almost all need for a website.” Back then, Fishkin also said that “Google has made it harder and harder to find the website in both mobile and desktop versions of local searches.” Was that a bad omen or a reality check?
Will SERPs Be the Final Destination for Consumer Questions in the Future?
I’m sure you have noticed all the moves Google has been making to keep consumers on SERPs. Businesses that participate in Reserve with Google will allow consumers to check availability via SERPs. With home service ads, they can get quotes. Google’s shopping integrations allow consumers to check inventory at local stores. All of these changes can mean fewer website clicks.
Am I Saying the Website Is Dead?
No way. Websites are providing all the information Google is displaying on SERPs.
Gary Illyes from Google revealed at Google Dance Singapore that SERPs will soon display FAQs, Q&A and how-to content. Users will not need to click through to the website, because if the changes roll out as revealed, almost the entire mobile view will be taken up with the answer.
What Does This Mean for Local Business Websites?
Local businesses should utilize all the tools and features available through Google by optimizing their Google Business Profile listing, creating content that will populate in answer boxes and featured snippets, and implementing schema. This is the way to continue to get visibility for local businesses and brands in SERPs. While site traffic may decrease in the future, this doesn’t mean there will be less foot traffic into local businesses. At least Google doesn’t have its own version of Amazon yet… Eeek.
Be Ready. Be First. Don’t Wait.
I get it. You may not have a team to back you up. We do. The Advice Local team is here to help our partners. Request a demo to learn how we can help you, too.
P.S. Remember how last week we talked about changes to the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines? It seems to prepare for broad core algorithm updates like the one rolled out on August 1. Google’s Danny Sullivan points his followers to the guidelines for “How to do better with a broad change.”
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