Three Things Brands Don’t Know About Google that Can Help their Rankings

Oct 18, 2017

Article ImageGoogle updates its algorithm frequently, and often releases new technologies or features that impact a brand’s rankings. A subtle change in Google’s algorithm could mean a company that used to appear on the first page of search results now appears on the second page (or worse), which impacts nearly all visibility among consumers and prospects. Beyond frustrating, the process and strategies needed to get back on page one are tricky. Brand marketers are faced with the challenge of keeping up with the Google learning curve around its frequent updates to properly get what they’re looking for out of the search engine and its search rankings.

To ensure brand marketers are still able to get the same or better ROI out of their online rankings, here are three very important but not-so-well-known factors that can positively impact a brand’s online reputation.

1) Local Strategies 

There is a reason over 45% of all searches on Google are local. Local search is one of the most effective ways for customers to find nearby businesses that have proven themselves to be reliable and trustworthy. Today, no matter which industry, the path a customer takes from online to offline is relatively the same: they recognize a need, enter a quick search on sites like Google, Yelp, or Facebook, then compare the ratings, reviews, and photos for the top results. After about a minute or two they have made their decision and are off to a business.

In the game of local search, it is not just about showing up as the number one listing on the search engine results pages. It is also about continually communicating trust to customers along every avenue of their online to offline journey; that means, at the very least, having accurate store listing information, raving reviews, frequent review responses and some great photos posted by previous customers. Companies that utilize every aspect of a local SEO strategy to its fullest potential are the ones that will see the most foot traffic and win the most customers. This is especially true when it comes to maintaining accurate listings across search and review sites and backing up great rankings with an even better online reputation.

2) Social Presence 

About 72% of consumers who do a local search visit a store within five miles. Unfortunately, marketers often fail to realize that appearing at the top of those searches is directly correlated to the health and relevancy of their social media pages. Even more frustrating for multi-location brands, these local search rankings depend on accurate social media pages and ongoing engagement for each store location, not just the national brand. If they have incorrect store information on their social pages, Google translates this to mean that nobody is manning the shop. They are more confident in recommending businesses that do have consistent, correct, and helpful information about their brand and the services they offer.

Google also takes into consideration Facebook likes, shares, Tweets, even Pinterest pins, along with how often a brand’s page posts – as well as how long it takes to get back to customers. Chains have it more difficult since sites like Facebook and Instagram created a store page for every location and now the chain must manage and update all those pages with correct and branded information.

3)The Surge in Voice Search

With more than 50% of U.S teens and 41% of U.S adults using voice search on a daily basis, this is ushering in a new level of search engine sophistication. Where we once typed, we now speak. Anyone who uses voice search will notice questions are structured differently. What might be written on a mobile or desktop search as, “Coffee Near Me” may be spoken on a voice search as “Where can I find a soy-milk decaf latte at the mall?”

Because of this, brand marketers are at a huge risk of missing out on search rankings if their content isn’t optimized for both typed and voice searches.To remain relevant and profitable with evolving customer demands, businesses must continually update their online search strategies. Some of these shifts in strategies include being mobile friendly, understanding and integrating long-tail keywords effectively, and adding natural language to site content.

To make sure a business is ahead of the game, it has to be specific in targeting and attracting its audience with quality content that will keep customers interested. Recently, Google launched a product that can address voice search for local businesses. Within your Google My Business listing, you can add FAQs, which are likely going to be used for voice search results in the future.

In today’s omni-channel world, customers expect brands to connect with them on their terms. There’s little consideration around what it takes for brands and retailers to successfully interact with one customer through one channel, let alone hundreds of customers across dozens of channels at many points and places in their days. To alleviate this challenge, brands need to think more locally, ensure social media pages are responsive and in good health, and optimize for voice and traditional search. Easy enough, right?

Not so much, and especially not by hand. With new trends continually changing, it can be impossible to keep up without the proper tools. There are many great technologies out there for brands to tap into, that can help monitor, publish and respond to social activity and customer feedback in real-time at the local store level. By exploring these technologies, and having a deep understanding of how Google determines brand rankings, brands and marketers can quickly see rankings creep up from page three, to page two, to page one with a little patience, smart analysis, and even smarter engagement strategies.

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