So, you have reviewed keywords or niche terms related to your business and embedded them into your sites content. You have written strong meta descriptions and made sure that your url and other aspects of your site all follow your strategy. But is it all in vain? Is SEO dying, or is it already dead?
It seems more and more these days that black hat seo is everywhere. Everyone is in a race to get their site ranked high in the SERP’s to increase visibility and business. Underhanded techniques such as link farming and spamming posts seem to be everywhere. Can the white hat seo’s really compete with all of the practices like quality citations and linkbuilding used to gain status online that are simply not lawful? The answer is they may not have to.
Google recently announced an update to their places guidelines that now allow a local business to add a single descriptor that helps customers locate their business or understand what your business offers.
Examples of acceptable titles with descriptors (in italics for demonstration purposes) are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant”.
Examples that would not be accepted would be “#1 Seattle Plumbing”, “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas”.
This new guideline allows a local business to be found even more using this descriptor and gain more visibility online. Local seo is rapidly growing and more often than not Google Places/Plus listing show up before many organic searches ever do.
Consumers can gain a great deal of information from your local profile leading them directly to your site, if they even visit it. Studies show that 86% of users searching locally for a business will call or click on their local listing and read reviews and never actually visit a website.
Here are just a few statistics that support why developing and maintaining a positive and informative local profile is critical, and may be more important that traditional on-page seo for your website.
- More than 54% of Americans now search online for business information versus traditional
phone books. (comScore)
- 82% of online local searchers follow up via an in-store visit. (TMP/comScore)
Traditional on-page SEO that supports keywords, topics and other relative information has long been the most widely used and abused practice for ranking a site or web page. With more consumers searching on mobile devices than ever before the need for strong local SEO has increased. More businesses are becoming proactive in the use of their local business profiles to drive traffic, however over 25% of online business listings are inaccurate or unclaimed.
As more business owners realize the power of a strong local listing the shift from traditional on-page SEO to rank slowly dies. The movement toward a local listing full of reviews, images and other useful information becomes front and center. Google is well aware of the effectiveness of these listings and is consistently changing the guidelines to make these listing more effective and more desirable to business owners. With each Google + profile that is optimized a little on-page SEO dies and Google takes that much more of a stronghold over how businesses are ranked and viewed online.
Let us develop a strong local presence for your business today by optimizing and maintaining a group of quality local listing that will drive more business to your door.
Source 1: http://blumenthals.com/blog/2014/02/20/google-places-guideline-update-now-allowing-descriptors-in-business-title/
Source 2: https://support.google.com/places/answer/107528?hl=en
Source 3: http://listedlocally.com/faqs/surveys-statistics-on-local-search/