If you don’t already know what Google Places is all about, it is basically Google’s attempt to provide relevant local search results to searchers based on their geographic location.
So when you search for something like “Real Estate Agent Capalaba”, Google assumes (and rightly so) that you are looking for Real Estate Agents in Capalaba.
If you do not already have your office set-up with a Google “Places” page, now is the time to do so.
Why? Well, here are three simple reasons :
• It is free.
• It will help people find you more easily.
• It makes Google happy.
Why get a Google Places listing now?
Recently, Google has rolled out changes which emphasise how serious they are about the Places search and helping users quickly finding local business results.
Places is now a search type of its own, found in the left-hand column on Google, along with other common search categories.
The current order is:
What’s different about Google Pages listings?
Places Listings have far more prominence than they used to, dominating the results page. They also provide more information than before, including an image if images were provided with the listing.
To understand the impact of this change, consider your search engine optimization efforts. If you used to be on page one of Google for a search term that is local in nature, your business might be relegated to page two with this change.
As well, the map works differently now too.
It has been moved over to the right-hand column above the AdWords ads and it will now scroll down the page as you do. Places is so important to Google, that the map will actually cover up those AdWords ads which are also so valuable to Google.
This says a lot about how important local business listings are to Google.
Google Places: Tips to Optimize Your Local Business Listing
- Create a Places listing for each physical office you have.
- Complete as much information as you can in your Places listing.
- Make sure your business name, address and phone number is the same as you have it listed on other local listing sites. (Google is looking for consistency)
- Ensure you’ve listed your business in as many categories as are applicable.
- Add links back to your main office website.
- Add photos and videos (as appropriate)
Very recently, Google made significant changes to its search engine algorithm.
This algorithm is basically the formula that Google uses, when determining which sites should appear at the top of search results, and which ones should not.
Very few people, except for hardcore search and tech literati understand precisely how these changes were set up or exactly how they work, but the changes are pretty evident already.
The long and the short of it, is that you will need to take a good look at your website to determine if it is still “search engine friendly”.
Here are some items that now need to be understood in regards to this new Google algorithm:
- Faster Indexing
Google has a new thing called “Google Caffeine”. This means there is no more “sandbox” or long waiting times, before your website can be indexed by Google. The indexing time is now down to around 15 minutes (if you have a dynamic site map submitted to Google Webmaster Tools).
This means that unique, steady content such as news updates, blogs, etc, will take even more precedence in search engine rankings.
- Google Analytics Data
In a fairly controversial move, Google has suggested that they may use the analytics data of sites in their algorithm, since it provides a huge amount of information about user interaction of a web site. This makes a lot of sense, but there will be many that do not like this idea.
This one is a pretty easy fix though, as Google Analytics is free and does not take much to add into a website.
- Paid Links
Buying links to push ranks up in a short period of time is a technique used by some marketers. Many of these are added for short periods of time due to the cost of purchasing them.
Google now says that the age of links matter, so these short term link arrangements will no longer help you. They prefer stable links that have been there for a while, so work on building naturally occurring links that matter to your business.
- Page Load Time is now important
Very simply, the time it takes a web page to appear in your internet browser will directly affect how it ranks in Google.
Make sure that your images and all page elements are optimized and that your sites load fast. Don’t lose rank due to slow loading images or other web elements.
- Flash animation and Flash websites
Flash websites and animations created in Flash, can take forever to load up. Based on the information above, this is bad news for your site ranking. Avoid full flash websites, large animation files & splash pages. Use HTML5 where you can.
There are other changes still to come from Google. They like to rearrange things periodically just to keep the SEO experts, tech guys and online marketers on their toes.
Trying to play the game and work out how Algorithms work, can be a real waste of time. These Google Algorithm Changes, don’t really change the core message and approach of a good website though – it still is all about CONTENT.
The best thing to do is ensure the basics are covered and that you have good, solid content on your website.
- clear information on your site, that is relevant to what your website visitors are looking for (Such as search-able listings, interactive location maps for listings, locality information, clear contact information & staff profiles for example)
- the consistent addition of unique content (latest news, etc)
- site promotion through syndication, aimed at generating quality back links through to your site
Brightfox is aware of these changes, and we regularly advise our clients on the best way to manage their online presence, to be the most search-engine friendly that it can be.
If you are seeking to improve your website rankings, traffic and sales, then feel free to contact us here at Brightfox.