The way in which search engines display results is not the same as it was 10 years ago -- not even two months ago. These changes go beyond how search results are displayed and have more to do with the fact that search engines are constantly looking to give users a more accurate search experience. They are providing information more relevant to the query, localizing results depending on the user location at the time of the search, and they give better ranking positions to websites with quality content.
Search results are not the only things that have changed. Consumers’ search behavior has also changed. The changes in technology by way of computing power, the booming expansion of the internet and the popularity of new gadgets, like browsers within TV’s and gaming systems, have set new trends for the use of information.
Searcher's habits are getting more sophisticated by using multiple devices to find information. Old habits of searching by keyword have gone away, and instead users are searching with more complex phrases or full semantic sentences. Mobile is mainly used to seek information on-the-go, doing local searches for addresses and driving directions; while the use of PC/Laptop is found more reliable for in-depth searching. 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company. Make sure all your local partners understand the importance of having a mobile-friendly website for their business because this is also a ranking factor for search engines.
Last year was a year of some massive changes in search:
- Authorship, even though originally dubbed by many as the next big thing, was removed.
- Google cracked down on guest posts as a link-building strategy.
- Local search algorithms saw a massive update, and ToolBar PageRank has finally shelved.
Search engines now better understand the searchers' true intent as they seek out specific content or locations. This is great for brands since the search engines do the heavy work for your local partners to get found by customers.
Simple, right? Nope.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” ~ Darwin.
Since search engines focus on the user, increasing the probability of a business being chosen by search engines in results is a task requiring a commitment from your local partners. As search engines evolve and users change behavior, local businesses need to adapt to new digital landscapes.
Google, Bing and Yahoo are looking for the interaction between businesses and their customers. Use this information and guide your local partners to be present and active on social networks, as well as, review sites such as Facebook, Yelp and Foursquare. Reputation Management and social media play an important role at getting better ranking positions and staying ahead of competitors.
Due to the increase in competition looking for higher rankings on search results, Dynamic local ads and paid search are gaining a place in marketing as cost effective ways to gain brand awareness and visibility on search engines.
An optimized digital presence on the web is a must in 2015. This is achieved with a consistent and accurate presence across directories validating your brand and its presence to search engines. Ultimately, this will help your partners gain the coveted space in first page rankings.