7 September, 2014

Local Search Roundup August 2014

GMB logoGoogle My Business

This new “product” was really a case of Google consolidating access to Google Places and Google Plus into one simpler, easier way for business owners to manage their Google assets. They also added the ability for owners to manage their pages via a mobile.

This is not more than a case of Google making things easier for you. It also sends a message. If Google are making it easy for you to access their services by phone, are you making things easy for your customers to do the same?

As part of the launch in Australia, Google announced a TV ad campaign that started on the 20th of July. I you haven’t seen an ad yet, here’s where you can watch it on YouTube: It’s only 80 seconds.

I like the closing line of the video – “Unlock the full potential of Google and find your people.” I might add – and help people find you!

Looming on the horizon – a bad bird

There’s also a very disruptive change to Google Local on its way to our shores.

The “local” part of Google local is that special set of businesses with the red pins you see when you search for something like “dentist Prahran”.

While Google daily tweaks the calculations (algorithm) to rule which website gets listed where and when, sometimes they do big changes. Penguin and Panda are names of two huge updates that hit traditional (organic) search results.

The algorithm that controls the local pack has just had a big update now referred to as Pigeon. There were two main parts to the update:

  • local pack results become more tied to organic ranking factors and
  • improved distance and location ranking factors.

In plain English this means

  1. You must be promoting your local business well beyond just the specifics of directory listings and reviews and
  2. Google just got a whole lot better at detecting where you are and changes what it serves up as results.

The Pigeon update is also being called the Pigeon-you-know-what update because of the major shake-up to Local listings. The good news is that it hasn’t yet rolled out to Australia. Lets hope a lot of the kinks will be worked out before it flies in and lands.

The driver behind the location aspect is clearly mobile searchers. The devices people use to search and how they search is changing. And Google is changing right along with it. So if your had a website built 3 or 4 years ago and thought you were done and dusted, think again.