What is the impact of the new Google Places / Local for accountants?

published on October 28, 2010 in SEO & PPC

What does the new Google search engine results page layout mean for accountants?

The SEO sphere has been buzzing for the past 24 hours about the new layout for Google search engine result pages (SERP). While doing a routine search for “accountant in Birmingham”, I saw this new layout in effect and could witness why being listed ranking well on Google map is now more important than ever.

A picture being worth a thousand words, let me share this screenshot with you:

New Google SERP Layout (Google Places 7 Pack)


The first thing we notice is the prominence of the Google Places / Local results. They represent over 1/3 of the screen real estate and almost half if we don’t take into consideration white space. In fact, even with a large screen resolution (1280 by 1024) you would need to scroll down a fair bit to start seeing “organic” results which now only show 6 results representing 17.6% of screen surface (almost as much as Adwords).

“Organic” results are now pushed way down and you need to scroll the page a fair amount to even see them.

New Google SERP Layout with Screen Resolution

The second thing we notice, on screen resolution above 825px in height, is that the map is fixed in the top right corner which means than when scrolling down, it hides Google Adwords. Will this be definitive, I am not sure, but that’s what happens at present. Is Google considering that local listing will become a main source of revenues? It certainly looks like it!

New Google map goes over Adwords when page is scrolled down

What does this all mean for accountants?

If you haven’t already done so, you should strongly consider registering your practice with Google Places. In fact don’t even consider it, please just go and do it!

Also make sure that your website contains your contact details (phone number and address) and if you use an SEO company, ask them to spend some time improving your practice listing in Google Places. To that effect, you should encourage your clients to leave positive reviews about your practice using their Google Account. You could, for example, send them an email with a direct link to your Google Places page at the same time you send them their completed their tax return.

Finally, make sure that the information from your listing in Yell and other online directories is accurate. If you are not registered with Yell, add it to your to-do list. Also try to find local online directories that let you register your company details (a link to your website would be beneficial but it is not mandatory).


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Gordon from Haines Watts Accountants Wolverhampton October 31, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I think in order to keep on track with SEO, the accountants must ensure they are listed in Google Places / map results. Saying that, it’s now going to be a lot harder to target keywords in a different area.


netaccountant November 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Indeed Gordon, targeting lots of different areas with dedicated SEO pages will no longer be as effective as it use to.


Sean from Waste Disposal Bournemouth November 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm

This has implications for any service provider, not just accountants. It will make it very difficult for B2B services to target different areas, for instance. In fact, difficult for any service provider unless they have a network of regional offices.


netaccountant January 10, 2011 at 11:29 am

True, and I guess this is why Google is pushing this forward: to stop people creating “satellite” pages optimised for local searches when they have no physical presence in the areas they target.


Tracy from massage chair November 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm

This is huge not only for local business but also for shoppers looking for them. I do not know how many times in the past I get the superpages site instead and it is giving me generic national businesses when that is not what I was looking for. This makes it easier to find not only accountants, but mechanics and more.


Neil from Accountants Bridgend December 28, 2010 at 7:14 pm

This seems a huge change, has there been any further developments or insights since your original post?


netaccountant January 12, 2011 at 8:24 am

Hi Neil,

I am currently working on a few more posts about the new Google Places layout, will link them from here as soon as they’re out.


Derek Pennycook from Bed and Breakfast Marketing February 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Here is one very important but little known tip.

Make sure your business name is exactly the same on your Google business listing as it is on third party review websites. So if you have a glowing reference on a third party review website for “Smith & Son Accountants” and your Google listing has you as “Smith & Son Tax Specialists” then Google may not pick this up as the same business.

This is even more important for younger businesses that don’t carry much link authority.


netaccountant February 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Thanks for sharing that tip Derek, it is true that new businesses need to be extra careful with the information they publish online and tracking / consolidating the information to make sure that it is coherent, is a very important step.


accountants in durham October 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm

That’s a great tip Derek and something I will be focusing on from now on. Thanks for sharing.


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