Google’s search results are quite a bit different from what they were. Just look at most results pages. They are no longer dominated by traditional, organic site matches, Google now lists local maps, images, videos and social cues as well — and there is a lot more to it than that.
If your business relies heavily on the internet for leads then the Google search results will drastically affect how your customers find you. If your business needs to be seen and clicked, you probably need to reassess how effective your present SEO campaign is. Here are the first two of six tips to help you regain some of the ground you may have lost with all the recent changes:
1. Local Search Now Dominates
You will have noticed that for many of the Google Searches you now do the results are dominated by the Google Places Listing. Your customers and prospects will certainly have noticed! – SEO software firm SEOmoz recently did some eye-tracking case studies on Google’s SERP (search engine results page). The results showed that users are gravitating towards and clicking on the Google Places listings.
If your business relies on local listings, concentrate on getting your Google Places Listing up near the top – nearer to ‘A’ than ‘G’. How do you do this? The following will help you:
- Citations: Citations translate as mentions of your business anywhere online. So the more places where your business is mentioned the more citations you will have. Always make sure that all your online listings have consistent business information. Make sure you always use the same words for your address e.g. if your address if 123 High Street, then always list it in the same way – don’t use ‘High St’ in some entries and not in others. Similarly if you have both a national phone number and a local phone number go for the local one.
- Google Places page optimisation: Just like your website, make sure your Places page is properly optimized for your primary keyword phrases. Make sure the categories you choose for your Google Places listing exactly match what you do and ideally try and point the link to your website from your Google Places page back to a localized landing page.
- Reviews: Google now only displays reviews from Google, and no longer takes into account reviews on other websites. However, getting reviews from aggregator sites such as Yelp, Superpages or Trip Advisor will help increase your presence and of course your citations. You should encourage your customers to leave reviews about your products and services on you Google Places page.
2. Social Media is now a key part of SEO
Social Media is a key part of your SEO strategy and should no longer be considered optional. Social cues such as ‘Twitter shares’, ‘Facebook likes’ and ‘social bookmarking’ now heavily influence the search engine rankings for many businesses.
We are now seeing search results being personalized for each person based on their previous surfing history so other people will be seeing a different search result to you. With any SEO campaign it is vital that you include a social aspect to it to facilitate information sharing and of course to create some good quality back-links to your website from your social channels.
In our next post we will cover another 4 tips to help you get your SEO campaign back on track.
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