Google Your Business with Google My Business
Google is by far the world’s most popular search engine with more than 12 billion searches per month and more than two thirds of global searches online and 85% of mobile searches being conducted via the ten-year-old company. This is why marketing managers are increasingly drawn to Google. The size and influence that Google has over the Internet is so immense that whole new industries have grown up to deal with it. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) services, online marketing courses and colleges, industry experts amongst others make a good living by knowing about Google’s latest updates and predicting what changes Google will make next.
For small businesses, online marketing is often one of those luxuries that gets done in and when there is time, yet those that make it a priority are far more likely to achieve business success. Every indication for 2015 is that Google is going to increase the importance of locality to searchers. This means companies need to decide now where their target market is and start adapting their websites to capture higher positions on Google searches for their key words.
Here are four reasons that we’re confident in our prediction:
1. Roll-out of Google My Business
In 2014, Google upgraded the way that it links businesses to Google Maps. Previously, businesses had to be registered on Google Places. This has been swallowed up by the launch Google My Business. My Business allows Google Plus users to manage their businesses through the Google social media platform and allows users to get opening time information and links your company website directly from Google Maps. It also means that you can click on the Google Map link on your Google Search and get a choice of visiting the website, calling the company or – and here’s the interesting bit – directions to the company. The fact that Google are pushing the ability to not only provide a company’s information to a searcher, but also to direct them on foot, by car or bike directly to their shop, showroom, office or place of work suggests the wave of local search is still gaining momentum on Google search patterns.
2. Increased awareness of searcher’s location
Google has been steadily and sometimes stealthily pinning down users by their location in recent years. 2013-14 saw a differing of search results geographically without the searcher putting a specific location in their search. For example two people searching for a ‘marketing agency’ would see different results in Bristol and London. The Bristol-based searcher would see companies based in Bristol and the South West of England performing better than they would for the London-based searcher. With Google working hard to push the Google+ social media platform, it is likely that they will adapt searches based on location of work, home and other information it picks up from your Google account. Most people don’t even realise they’re logged into their Google account when searching, but as Google+ content grows and people increase usage, expect Google searches to use that information to make search results more personal, and therefore more local.
3. Google has started releasing local data statements
In December 2014, Google released a press release announcing the top searches for the year based on city location in the UK. This is the first time Google has volunteered information at city level rather than region or national level. It is a clear sign that Google’s confidence in it’s ability to analyse information at a local level and manipulate the Google Algorithm (the complex tool that Google uses to create its search rankings list of websites) to provide information and results according to the searcher’s locality.
4. Google Pigeon
On 24th July 2014, Google launched a key update to its search algorithm. Its codename was Google Pigeon. Pigeon brings a whole separate part of the algorithm, sitting alongside Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. Pigeon is directly concerned with local search. It directly links location and distance to search results for users, altering local search listing results. As Google’s understanding and tweaking develops, you can bet Pigeon will be given increased importance in its proportional influence with the other three parts of the search parameters.
So what does this mean for local business?
One of the benefits of Google giving increased importance to location is that it gives small businesses that are limited geographically to a small area a much better chance to appear high on searches made by potential customers. A search for ‘kinesiology’ made by someone in Bristol is more likely to show Bristol kinesiology practitioners in the top page of results than just the Wikipedia definition of kinesiology, national specialists, newspaper articles about kinesiology etc.
This gives the searcher the ability to contact a local kinesiology specialist in Bristol, get the information from their website or by phone and shows them how to visit their practice. In effect, it speeds and eases the process of a potential customer becoming a client if used correctly.
Talk to Bristol Marketing
For more information about how to improve your Google rankings and increase your brand awareness locally, give us a call today or drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help. You can find out more about our views on Google local marketing here.