While scrolling through Twitter today I noticed an interesting tweet from Pete Meyers:
Is this new? – "Book an appointment" option in Knowledge Panel (shown closed and open) — pic.twitter.com/j86njnVGyq
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) August 24, 2015
Having not noticed this myself I decided to do a few quick Google queries to get the same type of results. Unfortunately, here in Minneapolis the new update hasn’t rolled out yet, but after a little bit of investigation it was found that Google in-fact plans to roll out this new feature for its users.
Last week Linda Buqet announced in the Local Search Forums that Google was already in the process of launching a Local Restauraunt Delivery Booking System and they have also partnered up with both DemandForce and Intuit to provide online scheduling for businesses directly from search results.
This likely has brought much alarm to those working in the SEO industry due to the fact Google has been working hard lately to push more and more websites out of the organic search results and force search users into using Google’s own platforms. There has been much discussion from local search marketers as to whether or not these new booking platforms are good or evil, but one comment did arouse my interest.
Daryl, a consultant that frequents the forums mentioned above, said, “Sure we’re bypassing the website, but the patient books an appointment easily. Sure these online appointments tend to be a lot of no shows, but that person is now in the system to follow up with and potentially convert. Basically it’s all just an easy lead gen source no?”
I’ve always been in the opinion that the “SEO” world is constantly changing, and lean towards more the statement that “SEO” has been dead for quite some time and has been replaced in whole with digital marketing as a core. As organic search results begin to come less and less important for sales agencies and businesses are going to need to adapt in two ways:
- Firstly, they must adapt and employ new strategies as promotional methods change (as seen with organic listings becoming less and less). I think many SEOs are ticked off because they have only bothered to learn one form of marketing over the years and are too stubborn to leave it behind. Sure, there will also be a place for “SEO” in the terms of best web development practices, but it definitely appears to be dwindling away as a major marketing strategy.
- Secondly, agencies and businesses are likely going to have to revert to more traditional forms of advertising as well. Simply building some links and writing content isn’t going to cut it anymore if you’re website is #1 for a given search term when the #1 site is at the bottom of the page; searchers probably aren’t going to scroll down that far.
Overall, the digital landscape is ever evolving and time will tell if these latest Google strategies are here to stay.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons | http://bit.ly/1hZub7Y