During the past few months, we’ve been tearing our hair out. Why? Some of our recent Search Engine Optimization (SEO) positioning reports are showing that clients serving specific geographic areas with previous page one organic rankings in Google are suddenly nowhere to be found. However, their local listings continue to show on page one. Doing a little digging confirms our suspicions—Google has changed its algorithms (again).
For example, in the not-so-distant past, a search for “dentist” would bring Excel Dental Studio up on the Google Plus Local map and in the organic list. Seeing them on page one twice obviously increases the chances that a searcher will click through to their website.
Let me explain further with an example:
I did an organic search for “dentist” with “Merrillville, Indiana” set as the default search location. I first cleared the search history and didn’t log in, so Google didn’t have any clues as to what I wanted beyond the search word itself. Excel Dental Studio, who by the way owns the domain www.merrillvilledentist.com, pops up as #1 in the Google Plus Local but doesn’t appear at all in the next eight pages. (I stopped looking at that point.)
Note than none of the dental offices called out in Google Plus Local are repeated in the organic listings.
To test this finding, I chose a term that is not included as a category choice in Google Plus Local: “dental crowns.” Therefore, Googling this term brought up directory listings and general sites (not information for local dentists who perform this procedure):
But when I added “Merrillville” to the search, the listings changed dramatically. Since Google doesn’t find any listings in Google Plus Local for this search request, it relies on keywords and content to determine relevancy. This search brought Excel Dental Studio up on page one in positions two, three and four:
It’s clear that making sure your Google Plus Local listing is current and correct is beneficial in several ways:
- Your site will presumably be given ranking priority
- Searchers see the number of reviews your business has on Google
- Your business is pinned on the Google Map on the right side of the results
- Searchers can hover over your listing and see a snapshot of your Google Plus profile
- The map moves as users scroll through results
Contact Julie for more information or for assistance in optimizing your Google Plus Local business page for effective SEO.