In my original article related to the Google Local Places search algorithm update I mentioned that the situation was fluid. Even into August 2014 we are seeing “7 packs” turn into “3 packs” and vice versa. What is interesting is that it is happening on a daily and hourly basis. Even though there have been changes it remains the case that a strong website is greatly affecting local searches in a positive way. Almost every local maps search result that pops up shows businesses that have websites on the front page for that particular keyword phrase.
As we continue to move forward into the autumn of 2014 I firmly believe that Google will improve local search. Instead of ranking for Google Map Maker categories it will take some type of authority related to a topic. In the recent past I have noticed businesses rank on the Google local places map result without a page or website devoted to a particular topic area. I do not believe this will be possible moving forward. Here are the reasons why.
The Google Algorithm and a College Thesis
The Google algorithm was built with a college thesis or dissertation in mind. The value of a link is only as valuable as the website sharing that link. This is true in a thesis. If one of the most powerful theses at Stanford references your work it stands to reason that you have some authority in that topic area. If you have never published a work on said subject area there is no way it can be referenced. Why would Google rank a business that has never published an online document related to a specific area of expertise or topic? They shouldn’t.
If you own a business and you would like to get customers from online searches it is very beneficial to rank in both organic search and Google Local search. If you have a very strong website that has amazing content which has been linked to naturally you will find that Google searches are going to provide you with plenty of business. Those unwilling to create quality content are going to find that the algorithms consistently favor their competition.
Just last week I receive a phone call related to the Google Map Maker Local Categories and how they were no longer ranking on the front page of Google search. Instead of trying to just update categories on a user submitted mapping program it is better to create valuable resources that will benefit the visitor of the website. If a visitor of a website does not have content to consume that does not look good in the eyes of a search engine.
Always Have the End User in Mind
If a website has the end user in mind it will naturally rank in Google search. It takes creativity and hard work to optimize a website for its visitors. Installing Google Analytics and understanding what the visitors are doing and consuming can be a job in and of itself.
There are many things you can do to help the overall user experience. Here are a handful of tips:
- Create long form content but break it up with subheadings
- Provide photos of your expertise
- Create behind the scenes type content
- Make YouTube videos to show your skills
- Update a WordPress Blog on a weekly basis
- Internally link to other useful resources on your website
- Ask questions and allow comments
- Create polls
- Ask for testimonials and reviews from current and past customers
These are just a few of the many things you can do to make the user experience much more enjoyable for anyone that happens to click on your website. If they click on your website and it has thin, shallow content the bounce rate is going to be very high because they are going to go right back to the search results. Improving time on site can greatly help when it comes to getting new customers to call your business.
Where Google Local Search Goes From Here
As mentioned earlier, Google search signals are going to matter as we move forward. It makes sense for Google to display businesses that have been referenced around the web. If your business website is thin and has weak content now is the time to improve the depth of the web entity. Hiring a content writer is a wise choice. I would strongly suggest hiring a content writer that also knows and understands SEO. I offer many packages that can help with Google organic search, Google Local search,
Google Plus, social media and many other ranking factors.
Rather than trying to cut corners and find the easy way out it is best to brand your business. If you brand your business and receive natural mentions across the web you are going to rank in Google search. When combining branding with quality, long form content you can be rest assured that your phones will start ringing again.