Google’s Changes Could Be Hiding Your Practice’s Map Listing

Google recently made changes to how local listings show up in search results. If you’ve searched for a certain type of business over the last few days, you may have noticed that the results look a bit different than what you’re used to, whether you’re on a desktop computer or a mobile device.

This also affects how the local listings for your practice show up in search results. These are some examples of how local listings now appear in Google search results.

We searched for “orthopedic surgeon new york ny” on a desktop computer and got the following results.

Google local search for orthopedic surgeon

You’ll notice that while you used to be able to see 7 local listings on the results page, you now only get 3. Google also no longer shows full addresses or phone numbers for the listings and has done away with links to Google+ pages, although the street name is listed and there is a link for directions. Overall, the setup on the results page is more similar to what you would normally see if you were searching on a mobile device.

You’ll also notice that star ratings still show up on the results page, as well as hours of operation.

Google local search for podiatrist

If a user wants more information about a particular location, they will have to click on the listing, and be taken to a new page. There, they will see something like the image below. Users can scroll down on the left and see all of the listings relevant to their search, and click on each one to see something similar to the flyout option previously shown on the search results page.

Google local search for orthopedic surgeon

 

If your practice has several reviews or photos, those will also show up on the card to the right. Again, this is similar to the flyout cards that used to appear when you hovered over a listing on the results page.

Google local result for podiatrist

Although the desktop versions of physician listings look very similar to what we typically see on a mobile device, that doesn’t mean the mobile versions of local listing results haven’t had some changes too. The search results look very similar to the new desktop listings, but there are a few differences.

Google mobile search result

Instead of the links to the practice’s website and directions, users get a button to call the practice. Also, if users want to see more results, they can click to simply expand the options, rather than be taken to a new page. However, if users are using the GPS features on their phones to help locate a practice, they’ll have to click through to the listing. There, they’ll see an option for directions, as well as other important information.

Google mobile search result

While patients should still be able to find the information they need to contact and locate your practice, these changes are definitely something to be aware of and pay attention to. As Bruce Clay, Inc. points out, these changes mean that any listing ranked below the top 3 will have less visibility in search results than they did previously. And, while these changes may allow users to more quickly scan the listings to find what they need, not displaying important information allows Google to attribute conversions like phone calls or driving directions to local search results. This is a major requirement for Google to be able to monetize local search, which is ultimately a big help for Google.

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