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Here’s what’s making news in the SEO community in the last several weeks.

Google Says HTTPS Sites May Get Ranking Boost

In a hangout this month between Bruce Clay and Gary Illyes of Google, Illyes reconfirmed that Google’s HTTPS ranking boost may serve as the tiebreaker if the quality signals for the two search results are equal.

He went on to say that he wishes all websites would use HTTPS but that it is perfectly fine if you don’t:

“I hope that I see more and more websites on HTTPS because I think that privacy, for example, is important, but of course I can’t expect everyone to go HTTPS. Some people don’t have the resources for that.”

You can learn some of the other reasons why HTTPS and SSL matter for your website with this Slide Deck.

Google Logo Change Represents the Google of the Future

What do you think of Google’s new logo?

In launching their new logo, Google shares a story of how search has evolved from taking place on just a desktop PC to a number of different ways people interact with Google products across all platforms, app, and devices.

The new Google logo and its updated identity represents a “world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).”

Google says that this new logo not just represents Google of today, but the Google of the future.

Does Structured Markup and Rich Snippets Influence Google’s Ranking Algorithm?

This month Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz posted an article on Google hinting it may use structured data in its ranking algorithm in the future. In the past, Google has said that these do not directly lead to your page ranking better in its search results.

This speculation comes from a comment John Mueller made in a hangout session that Google may start using Rich Snippets and Markup as a ranking factor in the future:

“If we can recognize someone is looking for a car, we can say oh well, we have these pages that are marked up with structured data for a car, so probably they are pretty useful in that regard … So I think in the long run, it definitely makes sense to use structured data where you see that as being reasonable on the website. But I wouldn’t assume that using structured data markup will make your site jump up in rankings automatically. So we try to distinguish between a site that is done technically well and a site that actually has good content.”

Check out our Advanced SEO page for more information about Rich Snippets, Microdata, and Schema.

Continued Discussions About the New Google Local Search Display

We first mentioned the new Google Local 3 Pack last month and it has been heavily talked about in the Local SEO world since.

In his article The New Google Local Search Display, Jason Decker reiterates that several of the changes to local search results first seen in August are a “blow to local businesses” and provides several implications for searchers and local businesses:

  • The new Local 3 Pack is so plain it may reduce clicks to the website.
  • Display results may reduce phone calls to businesses as the phone number is hidden in most desktop results.
  • Local businesses may need to consider paid advertising to maintain their previous level of visibility in local search results. Decker points out that as more businesses resort to paid local ads we will most likely see competition and click costs spike.
  • Home service ads (currently only available in the San Francisco Bay Area) may eventually remove local search pack or push it down lower for certain business types.

Reasons for Consumers to Lose Trust in Your Website are Also Key SEO Factors

This month MarketingCharts.com shared a study by Neustar on what causes consumers to lose trust in digital brands. As we reviewed the top reasons your visitors may lose trust in your brand we quickly noticed that almost all of them have a direct impact on your rankings and Search Visibility.

Is it time to address these key issues on your site in order to boost both rankings and visitor trust?

91% do not trust websites with errors or mistakes.

Google says websites need to provide high-quality content and that its ranking algorithms look for signals of low quality content, which may include grammar and other mistakes. Errors on your website may naturally come over time, such as old hours or out of stock products. The more up to date and error free you keep your website, the better you stand to do both in the ranking and trust department.

88% do not trust websites that frequently go down.

Significant downtime from site maintenance or server issues hurt your rankings and can result in your pages getting deindexed. Think about it: if your website is frequently down when the Search Engines try to visit why would they then want to send visitors to your website, which would likely be down?

75% do not trust websites that take too long to load.

Fast websites not only increase your visitor trust but can improve your rankings. In 2014, site speed was Search Metric’s top ranking factor. Check out our slide deck on Website Speed to understand how making your website faster will ultimately increase your bottom line.

55% do not trust websites without security safeguards to protect personal information.

As mentioned above, Gary Illyes of Google has said that secure HTTPS websites may be the tiebreaker between two equal quality websites.

Take some time to review your website from a visitor perspective, paying attention to these key Trust indicators. What do you need to improve?

For more information about what is happening in the SEO world or what it will take to improve the visibility of your brand online, give us a call at 1-888-262-6687.

Never underestimate the power of local search.

The recent 2014 Local Search Study by Neustar Localeze and 15miles suggests that between 61 and 78% of local searches result in a purchase, depending on what type of device the person was searching from.

Between 65 and 73% of these purchases are “in store” meaning the person has selected your company from their search options and physically came to your location to do business with you.

Why you should care about these numbers … 

People are searching for local businesses like yours.

These searching people are qualified and ready to make a purchase. In fact, nearly 4 in 5 people using their phone to find a local business end up making a purchase.

If you haven’t considered local search visibility and optimizing your website so you are at the top of search results you are missing out on extremely affordable advertising to qualified buyers!

Additional Local SEO Takeaways from the Study

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  • If you are a local business (serving customers in a specific geographic region) local search visibility is crucial.
  • If you are a local business your mobile search visibility is just as critical.
  • The primary piece of information sought when searching on a mobile phone is the address or location. Your mobile site must make this extremely easy to find.
  • People searching on tablets tend to be comparing prices and seeking information about your products and services. Your website must be engaging and easy to use on a tablet device where people use their fingers to navigate your pages on a smaller size screen.
  • Only half of those searching on a mobile phone are satisfied with their experience – there is always room for improving your mobile website.
  • Other important pieces of information local searchers seek to find are hours of operation, special offers and ratings and reviews.

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Learn more about our Local SEO Services designed specifically for local businesses needing some extra visibility or gives us a call at 1-888-262-6687 to request your complimentary Local SEO Site Evaluation.