If you’re like most people, you use Google to search for things. You may notice that if you type in the same keywords on different days, you get different results. You may chalk this up to user error, however, it’s intentional, and part of what Google calls “Personalized Results.”
Google wants each user to get what they’re looking for, and it does this by building an ever changing algorithm. What’s the algorithm you ask? In layman’s terms: it’s a set of rules that Google sets to retrieve what you’re searching for. Algorithms change constantly as new technology becomes available. According to Moz, every year Google changes their algorithms 500-600 times, wow!
Most of us in the digital marketing field, are notified of the major changes, but the average user has no idea they’re happening. Sometimes these changes don’t alter search results much but other times there are major changes. This can be frustrating for the local roofing contractor who’s trying to keep his business in the top position of the listings. Just like in the movie business, top billing is where you get the most exposure.
What causes your search results to change?
There are many variables to this answer. Here are a few reasons:
1. Previous Searches on The Same Device
If you frequently search for the same things, Google remembers this and will present you with results based on your history. The problem for local businesses comes when, in the act of remembering these results, this causes certain listings (the ones you visit most) – to move up in your results. It can appear to be the favored position on every device you regularly use. This, however, is only the case for the devices that you use regularly, and are not necessarily the same results others will get when looking for businesses like yours.
2. Your Geographic Location
Every computer using the internet has an Internet Protocol address or “IP Address.” Google uses this address to track your location, and the algorithms depend on this location tracking. For instance, If you type the words “shoe store,” you’ll get results for shoe stores near you. Perfect for Joe’s Shoes down the block, but if they want to reach shoe lovers in another state, his store may not be in the same position in the search results.
3. Your User Experience History With Google
When users come to your site, Google tracks it. If your users are given a poor experience when they visit your page and leave right away, Google calls it a bounce. They will bounce out of your site in a short amount of time to find a different result that gives them what they need. This is a sign to Google that it shouldn’t rank your site as highly in search results because the people going aren’t having a good experience when they visit. This is why it is incredibly important to make sure your site can be easily navigated and accessable.
How Can You Improve Your Ranking?
Work on Your Local Optimization.
Local optimization is the low hanging fruit of SEO, and the easiest thing to change. You can do this by claiming Google My Business listing.
By claiming your business on Google, you can make sure all the information on there is accurate, and make changes if it’s not. If you leave your business unclaimed, you’re at the mercy of Google to put that information on your listing, and it may not always be accurate. Once you do this, move on to the next step!
Ask your clients for reviews.
Local reviews are a HUGE ranking factor, so try to get a couple 5-star reviews. However, you must ask your customers strategically. If you send a mass email asking EVERY client all at once for a review, this will backfire. The review sites may reject these, as they will look like fake reviews. So, ask clients individually and politely. Most people are happy to tell about a good customer service experience they have received.
Let’s move on to higher hanging fruit!
Write Localized Content
Make pages with specific location information on them. This way if someone searches “Roofers Lansing Michigan,” and you have a page titled “Roofing in Lansing Michigan,” you have a high chance of showing up in search results. Google has come along way in understanding user intent, so the keyword match for Roofing vs. Roofer doesn’t have to be exact. It knows what they are looking for!
Tip! In order to do this effectively, you must actually have a physical location with an address listed on the page for Google to rank it as a trustworthy source. So, be wise in the location page you create.
Utilize Paid Ads
These ads show up at the top of the page before the organically ranking listings on different browsers. Normally there are three ads at the top of the search results page that get prime real estate if there are people targeting your area and search keywords specifically.The number of ads on a page will also vary depending on the type of device you are using (laptop, desktop or mobile). The ads shown will also depend on the previous search history of the person looking, the geographic location of the search, and the keywords being used.
Search Ads can give your business more exposure to to the top of the listings, and are extensively beneficial in targeting mobile users.
Tip: If you don’t have good targeting, you could be blowing money in the wind. If you are targeting the whole state and only service the metro, you’re blowing money on people who you can’t help and they won’t find your service useful. Your targeting can make or break your ad effectiveness.
Keeping up with Google’s ever changing algorithm is tricky for local businesses, but being aware of its latest updates can help your roofing business stay in the top rankings. If you’re looking for help increasing your website’s ranking, we are here to help! Connect with Art Unlimited today.