Back in September 2015, we wrote a blog about how the look of Google Maps has changed. The changes gone over in that article have since been amplified further. Basically, search results aren’t displaying phone numbers, addresses, and links to some websites depending on how people interact with the business. See Below:
Notice, there are no phone numbers. When these listings are clicked, you are brought to a landing page that looks like the one below:
Here, you can call the course, get the full address, find directions, read reviews, write reviews, see their lunch menu, browse images of the business, see hours of operation, and finally, click a link that brings you to the course’s website. In reality, very few people will need any more information than what is displayed above. Almost everything that a customer needs to know is all in one easy to digest display.
So, while your website may see a decline in the amount of visitors from search engines, that absolutely does not mean you’ll receive less business from them. As a matter of fact, Google is reporting nearly 40% more phone calls and driving direction requests to local businesses since they made the enhancements. That’s music to a course operator’s ears!
Google and Bing aren’t done yet. In 2016 both search engine giants have plans to further optimize these local business pages with other relevant data. The additional features being mentioned are pricing, reservations (maybe for tee times?), direct email, and many others. Although we won’t know what exactly they’ll change until it happens, it’s safe to say that new things are on their way.
Is This The Death of Websites?
Definitely not. Why? Because Google and Bing use your website’s content, meta data, and other factors to determine where and what it displays in these local listings. So without an optimized website, you’re golf facility’s presence in these listings would suffer greatly, if it showed up at all.
In addition to Google and Bing using your website to pull your business information it needs into its results, they are also looking at Schema Markup information. In a nutshell, Schema Markups allow a website to highlight certain content on a webpage that you feel is relevant to search results. In example, you could markup information on your website regarding a special event going on at the course. Google can then use that information to display a unique message on it’s results page. See the image below.
Take Advantage of These Local Listings
Google and Bing are showing fewer and fewer local listings on the first page of results. This means that it takes more effort and optimization than ever to show up on top. More and more golf facilities are adopting a Search Engine Optimization strategy to boost their online presence. Not only will your website show up more often and more prominently, but you will attract more golfers to your course.
Search engines are sending more customers to local golf courses than ever before. However, businesses that fail to meet the stringent requirements set by search engines will see a dramatic drop in traffic in 2016. Since Google is displaying only a few local listings, courses not in the top 3 of results will suffer.
Get Your Website Analyzed Today
Don’t go into 2016 without a search engine optimization plan. As more and more consumers depend on search engines for information, it’s more important than ever to be easy to find.
To help golf facilities understand the strengths and weaknesses of their website and digital marketing efforts, we’ve started offering our Marketing Grader. Marketing Grader is 100% free and offers golf facilities the chance to have a digital marketing expert evaluate your website and other outside factors. We will then give you recommendations on how to better your digital marketing to gain more exposure.