In a search update heard ‘round the world, Google removed ads from its “right rail” on desktop search. Since, it has become increasingly important for businesses to rank in the “local pack”; showing up as one of these three mapped listings is the digital equivalent of being above the fold, and this has a huge impact on discoverability — and the subsequent potential for increased foot traffic and sales at physical locations.

So, the question is: What can businesses do to combat the adverse effects of the change, especially as local results have come to increasingly dominate search engine results pages (SERPs)?

The “three-pack”

Ten search experts — including Home Depot’s Erin Everhart, Reprise Media’s Adam Edwards, and more — break down the issue in a study from Yext. (Full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship, here.)

“When discussing the world’s economy, it’s often said, ‘If the U.S. sneezes, the whole world catches a cold,’” writes Jeffery K. Rohrs, Yext’s CMO, in the report’s introduction. “That quote came to mind as I reflected on what Google’s removal of right-rail, paid search ads on desktops means to digital marketers as a whole. On one hand, it is the business decision of a single company. On the other, however, it is a change that impacts millions of advertisers, agencies, experts, and SEOs alike. Indeed, it could be said that when Google sneezes, the whole of digital marketing gets a fever.”

To further unpack the changes the update confers on local search, Local SEO Guide’s Andrew Shotland will be featured in a March 29th webinar moderated by Yext’s Raj Nijjer. Interested parties can join to learn more about why Google made the changes, how it affect the balance between paid, organic, and local results, and where marketers can focus their efforts to potentially maximize search rankings to their advantage.

“What’s becoming clear is that for a business to navigate the continual changes to Google’s SERP page it needs to invest in the relevant content,” said Liz Walton, Yext’s director of marketing. “And the most relevant type of content is local.”

The webinar will take place on March 29th, 1 PM ET. Join here.