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New Google Feature Hits Local SEO Hard

Google has begun trialing a new feature in its local search engine results. The feature, that Google has refused to name but is being called Google Local Business Cards, allows local businesses to add information directly to the Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs.

The new feature is outlined in red in the search results above. It sits opposite the Google business data and, along with social media links, fills the entire page with information about a single business.

How do Google Local Business Cards Work?

The cards are scrollable pictures with text underneath. Business owners can add the pictures and information themselves and users can share the link and information directly from the SERPs. Currently Google Local Business Cards are only available to a few handpicked companies. If Google decides to roll this feature out to a wider audience, it could make a huge splash in local SEO.

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How Will Google Local Business Cards Affect Local Search?

The new feature is only available to local businesses. This is almost certainly because Google is trying to refine its local search results. If the cards are implemented across Google it means that local businesses will have a powerful new weapon to help them rank against their traditional rivals. In essence, local business search results will have more space in the SERPs, more positive ranking factors and possibly better visibility for local searches.

Who Will Google Local Business Cards Affect?

The winners in all this will be local businesses who create good content, spammers who will undoubtedly figure out a way to abuse this and Google who are probably hoping better local search will pull businesses time and money away from Facebook.

The losers are going to be local directories as they will not be able to create these cards, e-commerce sites because they do not have a local presence, businesses who have a service area rather than a brick and mortar location, content sites like ask .com because local businesses will be able to outrank them for information searches and local businesses who do not know how to take advantage of the new cards.

This is great news for local businesses who have been struggling to rank amidst a deluge of directories and e-commerce sites. So far, the Google Local Business Cards seem to help businesses in both branded and non-branded local searches. The function also works on mobile. What this means is that, if a business has taken advantage of all the Google tools, they could be number one in search rankings, in the top spot for Google PPC, have Google my business information showing, have their social media accounts ranking and have Google Local Business Cards all on the same page. That is a huge presence and almost a guarantee of a click. This could finally turn the tide for local businesses and give many the push to spend more time tuning their online presence… if Google doesn’t decide to kill Local Business Cards first.

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