Google has recently adjusted the way they display search results when consumers are searching for local businesses, once again impacting where and how your site will appear at the top of the search results. Now, rather than organic SEO search results appearing at the top, the businesses with the best consumer-driven ratings will take priority.
Zagat, a Google-owned restaurant-ranking site, is one of the many that will be used in the new local-search algorithm. Instead of displaying simple organic search results, an image-driven bar appears across the top of the results, listing the highest-ranking businesses along with other relevant information. For example, a search for San Diego hotels provides a number of results, but at the very top of the page is a strip of hotels listed by how many reviews they have and where they appear on Google Maps.
How Does This Affect My Business?
If you are not yet listed on Google with a Google + and a Google + Local page, you need to make sure that you get there now. And if you do participate in any kind of review-driven site like Zagat, you need to actively manage your reputation and reviews.
If you are not being reviewed, you should begin to ask your clients to provide reviews of your products and services through Google and other review sites in an effort to maintain and increase your visibility and to ensure that you appear in search results.
Steps You Should Take Now:
- Focus on long tail keywords in your content, to ensure that you appear in search results and hit the “carousel.”
- Ensure that you have high-quality images that Google can use to populate its search results.
- Solicit ratings and reviews from your customers.
- Do not put all of your eggs in the Zagat basket; make sure you’re hitting other review sites, such as Google +, Yelp and YP. If you’re in the travel industry, it’s a good idea to be visible and active on Trip Advisor, too.
- Regularly check search results to see where your business appears. Are you where you want to be?