Google has a penguin? Well, not that type of penguin.
Field service companies need to be aware that Google recently announced their most recent algorithm update, Google Penguin 4.0. “Penguin” is a codename for updates to ensure that Google serves relevant information on their search results pages. The updates penalize websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google continues to release new versions of their guidelines to safeguard potential spammers that try to manipulate their search engine results by submitting inaccurate information or pages.
Many businesses miss the point that their website is an extension of their real-world presence, and should provide customers and prospects with relevant content and resources around their specific field service offerings. This not only helps their website be more informative, but helps it rank better on Google to generate more leads.
So why is your website now showing up in Google? Showing up in Google (and other search engines) is an important part of any advertising strategy to drive brand awareness and sales. With over 3.5 billion searches per day or 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide, your customers are most likely searching for your services online. So how do you ensure your website is compliant with Google’s guidelines, so that you can show up on their search pages after the algorithm changes?
This blog post is part 1 of our two-part series to help you understand how to increase your visibility on Google. Today, we’ll cover the recent changes by Google, which primarily affects Local Search. Next week for Part 2, we’ll focus on specific actions you can take to improve your local ranking on Google.
What you need to know Google’s recent changes:
1. Separation of organic search and local search
“Think of Google as a massive file cabinet to help you visualize how sites and pages are being served on its search results.”
Google has a drawer (database) for its local business directory, and a separate drawer (database) for general organic search listings. With the recent update, the local business filter seems to be running more independently from the organic one. For example, ranking on Google Local depends on how popular your business listing is in their Local Directory database (think Yellow Pages), while ranking on Google Organic is driven by how your website fares with other websites in your industry in your local area and beyond.
2. Companies that fall outside of city limits now get a boost on Local Search
Let’s say you have a HVAC company that’s located in Lexington, but also services the next town of Springfield. In the past, Google Local search results would only show companies that were located specifically where its office was based (physical address), so your HVAC company would never show up when people searched for “HVAC Springfield”, only “HVAC Lexington”. With the recent changes, Google now allows a company’s website to show up in Google Local searches that fall outside their city limits.
3. Same address may be filtered for the listing that is most popular
Here’s an example: Imagine a home rebuilding company located in Springfield with John Doe (brother), an electrician, and Jane Doe (sister), also an electrician. There have been instances where both Jane and John would submit their address to Google as:
Google historically would list these as two separate companies for searches like “electricians in Springfield”, however with the recent update, Google now filters based on address affiliation. If a company is sharing an address, a website, and a phone number, they will not show up as separate listings. Google will instead show whichever listing is more popular for that address.
Find this blog post helpful? Send it to a colleague or share it on social. Also, stay tuned for next week’s follow-up post on how field service companies can get more visibility on Google’s Local Directory!
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Last modified: November 29, 2016