Google Page One new view
Have you noticed Google’s latest change to local business search results?
It’s a big shift, and whether or not you noticed it, Google’s recent changes to page one search results have an impact on brick and mortar New Zealand businesses.
“Unless you’ve been living in a shoebox, you’ll know that the upper half of Page 1 of Google is where you want your business to appear in a Google search”.
Research consistently shows that 80% of people don’t bother with Page 2 results. That’s not so surprising, but what’s important is that most people don’t even bother scrolling any further down the top half of page 1.
The advertising gurus call this prime real estate ‘above the fold’, or being in the top half of the page and being above the fold means one thing: your business will get more inquiries.
For example, in the good old days (September 2014), if I was to search ‘Nelson Accountant’, these are the results I would get above the fold:
Google Search results for ‘Accountant’ in the ‘good old days’ (Sep 2014).
However, if I search for ‘Accountant Nelson’ now (October 2015), this is what I get:
Google Search results for Accountant currently (November 2015).
“Organic ( meaning ‘free’) results have disappeared from the top half of page one, and this has major implications for getting found at the top of page one of Google (above the fold)”.
What’s the difference and how does this affect your business?
You may notice the complete absence of organic listings above the fold. The old method of getting your business found organically -as in using traditional keywords and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has nearly disappeared with Google’s recent change.
“The short answer is: If you’re in a highly competitive industry, you’ll need to pay for a prime position using Google Adwords.”
For other ways to get higher in search results, read on…
You can still see organic results if you scroll down the page, but research shows that most people don’t bother scrolling below the fold.
“There are things you can do to improve the chance for your business to be found on Page 1 of Google, without paying for advertising.”
Google’s game changer means that people searching for your business not only see the Adword (paid) listings at the top of the page, but they also see the free Google business listings.
“Having an up-to-date and accurate business Google+ listing is more important than ever before.”
Below is how your basic Google+ listing should look:
A Google+ listing with notes in red: Note the review – reviews not only build trust, they may also help your business \ rank higher on Page One of Google Search.
How to get better results on Page One of Google Search
Looking beyond the obvious (the increasing need to seriously consider paid advertising for your product or service), your business needs a Google+ listing with up-to-date details. Not only that, you need your Google+ listing to show up on the map, and preferably at the top of page 1.
How do I claim my Google+ listing?
Try searching your business name with G+ at the end of it. For example: ‘Dickiebird G+’. If you haven’t claimed it, it will say ‘claim this business’. Go ahead and click that button.
You’ll need to verify your address. This means updating your address in the listing, and Google will send you a verification code in the post (yes, Google do use snail mail).
To rank higher in Google Search you’ll need to update your Google+ listing: Google’s ranking methods are a well-kept secret. There’s no definitive guide, but I’ll share what seems to help:
- The sooner you get your listing up, the more chance you have of ranking. I’ve observed that age is an important determinant on how well your listing ranks.
- Get some images in your Google+ listing. Don’t go with the ugly default image Google have taken of the outside of your building. Put some effort into your page and you’ll be rewarded.
- Get reviews for your business. You can ask customers / clients to do this. Otherwise, consider an automated review tool like www.smallbusinessamplifier.co.nz
- Link your Google+ listing to your business website.
For an extensive guide on how to set up a business Google+ page, have a look at this free guide (external link).
Google+ puts your business on the map
Let’s summarise what these latest changes to Google mean to local businesses:
- Consider Google Ads: Google advertising is becoming increasingly important if you’re in a competitive industry and want to be found for key products and services.
- Claim your Google+ listing: To show up on page one, you’ll need to claim your business Google+ listing.
- Get your Google+ listing address verified: Put some effort into images and linking to your website.
- Consider getting reviews for your business: Not only will reviews that help your listing get found, but they tell customers you care about their feedback.
Making some of these changes will mean your business gets found more easily in Google search. That, in turn, will mean that your business gets more leads / inquiries. There is of course more to learn about creating websites that actually get inquiries (high converting websites), but I will cover that in another post. In the meantime, please share this post with your friends and colleagues in business. It’s an important change and one that’s all too often missed or ignore at the peril of small businesses that need to know how to get found online.
I would love to know how you get on– please leave a comment in the section below.