How to up your website’s Google game


April 27, 2017

Photo: © Babiy

Photo: © Babiy

Have you searched your business name online lately? Is your website the first result, or are you even on the first page of results? Consider:

  • 46 percent of all Google searches are local.
  • 50 percent of smartphone users are looking for a business phone number or address.
  • 68 percent of local searchers will use click-to-call or driving directions.
  • 78 percent of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase.

You need to be part of these percentages every time a potential customer searches for pest management. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Even if you recently completed a major SEO project with your web provider, it’s likely time to revisit its results.

Google 3-Stack

In 2015, Google rolled out a results page that reduced the traditional seven listings on the first page down to three. Termed Google 3-Stack, the results appear adjacent to a map of the Top 3 locations, which are considered the most trusted businesses in the local search. It also gives more space for customer reviews, and the search results are hyper-local.

Naturally, Google is constantly testing new features and fine-tuning its service to deliver an optimized user experience. In November 2016, Google announced that to make its results more useful, it began experiments to make its index mobile-first. The result is Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) — when pages meet Google’s mobile page criteria (no JavaScript, for example), the search engine giant uses those web pages to rank pages from that site. The AMP concept is explored in depth by Wired Magazine. If your web provider hasn’t made your website (or a version of it) mobile-friendly, move it to the top of their to-do list.

In February 2017, Google also added the ability to 3-Stack for users to filter by customer reviews and hours. This makes your proactive response to Google reviews of your business even more important.

Get to know GHS

Another new offering this year is Google Home Services (GHS), which shouldn’t be confused with in-home assistant devices such as Google Home or Amazon Echo. GHS is a pay-to-play service that’s similar to HomeAdvisor. It sets up a weekly leads ad budget, and appointments must be booked through the service. It’s designed to reduce spam and fraud in home services categories, and employee background checks by Pinkerton Services are a requirement. There’s also a service guarantee for consumers: Unhappy clients may submit a claim with a lifetime cap of $2,000.

The GHS unit appears at the top of Google’s search results whenever someone searches for local services like yours. In addition, appearing in the GHS unit is a badge of trust; only providers who have met Google’s qualifying criteria are featured in the unit. People will see vetted reviews, helping you improve your online reputation. Listings are rotated based on ratings or reviews on Google.

The only constant is change, particularly in the world of online search results. Keep on top of your company’s online reputation, and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

Karla Shelton is a digital strategist for Find8 Digital, a Lafayette, Ind.-based SEO and marketing services firm that specializes in the pest management industry. Contact her at


About the Author

Shelton is a digital strategist for Find8 Digital, a Lafayette, Ind.-based SEO and marketing services firm that specializes in the pest management industry. Contact her at

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