At it Again: Google Experimenting with Local Business Cards

What new ranking changes does Google have in store? You never actually know. They test out a lot more than you think. Many of their changes never even roll out.

At Search Engine Land, SEO experts say Google is testing out a new feature called “local business cards.” And they’ve actually confirmed this with Google. You may have seen these already. They look something like this:

local-1

However, this hasn’t been rolled out on a large scale yet. So it’s possible you haven’t seen these. Currently, they’re being tested at the local level, so you won’t notice them for large companies or brands.

What Could Be Going on With These “Local Business Cards?”

You never know exactly what Google’s doing with any of its changes. As we like to say so much on this blog, you have to remember they are a for-profit company. Currently, they are worth $474 billion, which puts them about $79 billion behind Apple ($553 billion).

As with any company, the goal is to be number one. So how’s Google going to get there?

Well, their top revenue generator is Adwords PPC campaigns. And it’s their top dog by a large margin.

Take a look at how Google ranks local businesses to a certain extent right now:

This is called Google’s local 3-pack. Before the 3-pack, there was the 7-pack. And SEO experts believe that Google reduced the number from 7 to 3 so more businesses would move over to Adwords to get on the front page of Google.

Now if you notice, going back to the “local business card,” it shows two pieces of content from local businesses. And again, it takes up the top space of the first page of the search results.

That’s less real estate for other small businesses to use. And how many people will click around on that carousel to see the other results anyway? Many web designers advise against those scrolling carousels on websites because users don’t like them.

So that means user experience gets compromised to some degree. And that leaves only one reason Google could do this:

To roll in more profits.

Likely, Google wants to continue to optimize their PPC revenues, their most significant source of profits. They may be able to compromise user experience a little. So, they’re testing it out to see what happens.

Stay tuned to i5ww’s blog for more updates on this issue as it evolves.

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