Optimization Station – Google Update 2019

Here are three notable points from the world of Search Engine Optimization.

  1. Google Changes How Local Search Results Are Generated 

Google has confirmed that an update affecting local search (GMB) results, which they began rolling out in November, has now fully rolled out.

With this update, Google is now applying neural matching to local search results. Here is how Google describes neural matching:

This means that Google can now better understand the meaning and intent of queries and match users with the most relevant local businesses, even if their keywords are not being used specifically.

One of the biggest takeaways from this update is the continued importance of including related keywords in all optimized pages and blog posts. If a page is optimized for “digital marketing”, keywords like “internet marketing” and “online marketing” should also be used in the content and meta data when possible.

As Google continues to evolve and have a more human-like understanding of search queries, it’s essential that content is created for humans first, Google second.

  1. Google Lets Businesses Add a Custom List of Services to GMB Listings

A new update will allow users to add a custom list of services to their GMB listings. Previously, users were only able to select from a list of services provided by Google. GMB will provide a suggested list of services for users to choose from. For a plumber, for example, the list may include “install faucet” and “repair toilet”. Google believes that having a standard list of service types will make it easier to deliver their users the best results based on their queries.

If the service is not listed, users can now add a custom service to their list. This can be very beneficial for businesses that crossover slightly between industries and offer unique services.

  1. Searchers are Engaging More with Business Listings in Search Results

Here’s yet another article that confirms everything we’ve been hearing over the past couple months regarding user interaction with local pack/map results vs. organic results. A study by Yext showed that consumer interactions with business listings grew 17% over the past year. That includes website clicks, clicks to call, and direction requests. One action in particular that has seen an increase over the past year is business reviews. According to the study “consumers are leaving more reviews about businesses. Review count per business location grew 27% over the past year.”

This underscores importance of frequently and consistently adding reviews to your business’s GMB listing. If your business isn’t adding reviews, you can bet that potential customers and Google will notice and your local pack rankings will likely take a hit.

I’m sure some of you have noticed, as well, that Google reviews can now be sorted by keywords/phrases. If a customer mentions a particular product or service in a five-star review, it can be very valuable.

Do you have any questions about this SEO update or how to find success for your business online? Contact us today and let’s get your digital marketing on the right track.