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Organic Search Listings Above The Local Block


Posted on 5/16/2016 by Bryce Admin
Google Search is constantly changing, that is something that every SEO practitioner knows. Recently we have seen a shake up in the most coveted spot in search; the top of the page. Today we witnessed a new development: #1 organic result above the local listings.

As recently as February, Google increased the number of ads it shows on the top of the page (above the fold) in search results from three to four. They have also recently decreased the number of Google Maps (Local) listings in the Local Block from seven to three.

What is the Local Block?

WEO Media is a dental marketing agency, so we are concerned with SEO for local dentists. As such, the local block (the map listings) often dominates the top of the fold for keywords that we target.

Traditionally, the local block has three local business listings in a box with a map which appears above the traditional organic search results.

Today, we witnessed for the first time, a single organic result shown above the local block.

Search listing above the local block

Is It Better for an Organic Result to be listed above the Local Block?

So the question is: is this a good thing? Well in my opinion, it is too early to say. Google is obviously in the testing phase for this page one change. Google is probably testing to see if the click-through-rates (CTR) for the #1 spot increase or decrease. More importantly for Google, whether the CTR for search advertising increases or decreases.

Unfortunately, Google has trained people to scroll past ads and the local block for the more trusted organic search results. So I wouldn’t be surprised if organic results between search ads and the local block get completely overlooked by searchers in many cases.

How to rank above the Local Block

Again, it’s too early to say whether the #1 spot will be reliably listed above the Local Block. Even we haven’t been able to replicate it on a majority of the keywords that we try to get our dental clients ranked for.

However, SEO best practices always apply. If you focus on making your code, meta tags, headings, and web design search engine friendly, you put yourself in a good position when these types of changes occur.
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