Google is constantly changing its algorithm and it’s getting hard for brands to keep track of what’s happening. Blogs like searchengineland.com are nearly constantly writing about what is changing but if you lack the time or if you didn’t set up an alert on Google, you are probably going to miss out information.
For multi-location brands, local searches are the bulk of what makes up the foot traffic in their stores, as nearly 50% of all searches are local. It should be almost a second nature of marketers to follow the algorithm changes on foot to know what is happening in the industry to not miss out on visitors.
In this article, we will go over three ‘things’ you probably were not aware of, or, that you might have misunderstood.
1. Local Presence
As said before, 45% of all searches on search engines are ‘local’, which means that you have to optimize your strategy to not miss out on almost half of the searches each day. And this doesn’t stop at a correct POI pointer on the map; rather people will look for ‘trust signs’ so they can determine whether or not they will visit your store. And this works throughout the whole journey from having an idea, to making a search query, to actually visiting a store. Along those lines, your brand should do well in presenting trust signs such as: having accurate business information (not only on Google, but also Bing, Apple, Facebook etc); having plenty of positive reviews, answered reviews, brand photos, perhaps a video review.
Google places great value on brands that have their local accounts properly setup with the information mentioned above.
2. Social Presence
With local SEO being so embedded within normal SEO, marketers often tend to place much emphasis on direct SEO signals such as keywords, links or NAP consistency. Though, Google also takes into account the health and wealth of your social pages on places like Facebook, Linkedin and Google+.
For multi-location brands, social media is even more important. Google calculates the rankings for each location separately based on the accuracy of the information and the social engagement per location. This means that brand should find a way to collectively manage the social pages in order to make each of them 100% perfect so that it will come up higher in the search results.
Google’s algorithm is built to perceive incorrect information or low engagement volumes as indicators of stores that have few visitors. Therefore, brands should optimize on social statistics like likes, comments, and shares and this has to be managed by all accounts.
The last one is voice search. Undoubtedly named as the new technology that is going to revolutionize search in ways we couldn’t have imagined before. Since about 50% of adults and 41% of teens already use voice search, it makes much sense for marketers to devote at least a third of their time figuring out how to optimize for it.
The advent of Voice search has changed the search algorithms in a way that they have become much smarter than before. The algorithms now respond pro-actively and businesses should be aware of that. To meet the customer demands and to remain profitable from incoming searches, businesses should adapt their strategies to it. Things marketers at least should focus on are:
Optimizing websites and local pages for longtail keywords
Optimize for mobile friendliness
Add natural language to their website
Google My Business has developed the possibility to build a FAQ page which works well with voice searches. Marketers have to impersonate themselves with the searcher and think about natural sounding sentences which people would actually search for.
So instead of optimizing the pages for “cheap phone” try to optimize the FAQ page with sentences like “where can I find a cheap phone near Amsterdam”.
More than ever, the customer is in control how, where and what they look for. Marketers have to understand that they have to live up to their terms in order to be found online. This requires them to think alongside the technological borders set by Google and use them to elevate their successes. Brand with multiple pages in their account should optimize their pages as locally as possible to catch all the relevant searches they deserve. Marketers that really do their best to understand the Google rankings, could easily outperform their competitors by leveraging easy tweaks.