Like consumers online behavior, Google changes all the time. Rather than looking upon this as a negative, we now know it is imperative to keep an eye on these variances and updates. In order to keep up with the multitude of onsite updates, consumers need to be aware of what these changes mean and why it affects their local online businesses.
If you take a look at Google over the years, they have continuously made changes, while evolving their own display of how organic search results are exhibited. Here is a short list of some of the major differences when looking back just a few short years ago in natural, organic search results:
- Google Paid ads have gained traction with not only top page positioning, but right rail, and bottom of the page as well.
- Voice recognition search capabilities
- Real-time auto populate based on popularity of search term in both the search bar and the organic returned results
- Local Map display
- Local stores close to your computers IP Address
For many local businesses, these changes to Google and their adaptations based on consumer behavior can be a nuisance. In fact if these changes go unnoticed by the local business owner, they can hurt the site’s organic traffic.
Here is a tip regarding local SEO that will help you and your small business stay relevant with Google’s organic search listings.
Local SEO is the New Black!
“Places” listings are now dominating organic search results for a large amount of inquiries entered by consumers. While many consumers are getting smarter about what they search for, and how they are searching, they are also becoming more knowledgeable in locating what they are looking for faster than ever before. A recent case study by SEOMoz has shown that general searchers are gravitating towards the “places” local search results when they are returned in organic placement. While this is still a fairly new phenomenon, take notice of this behavior and begin thinking about how you want to address this newly found consumer behavior online. Here are a couple ideas to help:
- Business listings: This sounds so simple, but please make sure that your business is listed correctly. This includes your business phone number, the spelling of your business name (abbreviations are important too), the town to which your business is located (twnshp vs. township) etc.
- Optimize your “Places” Page: Again, may sound like second nature, but we have seen more mistakes with this than you can imagine. When someone clicks on the placement link, take them to the appropriate page. Also, do not make the searcher go on a wild goose chase if you have multiple locations. A person searching for your business that is in New Jersey will not care about a location in Florida. Optimize the landing pages. If you are limited in this regard, let them select their location as the first act when they arrive.
- Customer Comments & Reviews: Ah, be careful what you ask for right? Well, now it’s your job to make sure that the customers experience once in your place of business is a pleasant one. If not, you will get the dreaded negative review (Cue the “Psycho” stabbing scene music). To help increase your businesses positive reviews, try to secure reviews from Yelp and other review sites. Some ideas of how to do this might entail free giveaways for their review; enter into a drawing for a free slice of pizza, or simply by just asking how the food was or the customer service.
The tips above may seem simple, but too often we see web businesses neglect them, ultimately harming their ability to be returned organically for local, relevant results. After all, one positive experience can spread to the “word-of-mouth” every local business needs and wants more of.
Is your site appearing in local organic search?