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  • Google Search is appearing more intuitive than ever before with local query results cresting the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

    With extensive empirical research behind the logic for greater emphasis on local search results, Google unleashed a new googly that has changed the way businesses present themselves on the web.

    What It Takes To Search The Cyberspace With Local Interests

    A user searching for information usually makes a query, which can be classified into two categories – the broad “business category” query, where a requirement exists for a particular product or service and the more specific “business name” query, where the intent to utilize the service of a particular chosen business entity near a user is more pronounced.

    By tweaking the search parameters, Google has caused a major upheaval in the way search results are displayed on the first few pages.

    Tectonic Shift – From The Desktop To The Mobile

    The emergence of mobile devices as devices of choice or convenience over desktops has also forced a paradigm shift in algorithms for SERPs.  Netizens on the move search for a particular service or product and the results show availability of that product or service in a location that is nearest to the present location of the device that launched the search. Google has rightly positioned its digital fingers on the pulse of users.

    Nudging A User To Be Local

    Buying preferences of users are influenced to a large extent by search results. The web is the de-facto advisor to the buyer with a large number of potential buyers swayed by the following factors while choosing a service or product:*

              * Relevance to requirement

              * Proximity to the outlet or service provider

              * Reviews or close scrutiny by other users whom the buyer readily accepts as his peers

    The new updates are an intelligent necessity prompted by many factors, including the above.  Search results throw up local entities in the first page, thereby addressing a major requirement or concern of a prospective client, i.e. the proximity to the outlet.

    The results display the reviews posted on the business pages of a firm, and the relevance to a requirement is understandably addressed being the principal reason for the search. The new Quality Rater Guidelines have a whole gamut of comprehensive instructions to the raters whose services are actually outsourced.

    With an increasing focus on local search, e-commerce sites seem to have some of their sheen taken off, because a traditional storefront has a higher probability of showing up on the displayed listings, whereas a large e-commerce site would not be listed because of the lack of an address, close to the user’s location. This is despite the fact that better service or products could have been obtained from the e-commerce site.

    Ask an SEO expert and he will say: To curb the significant volume of search traffic egressing as a result of the new updates, e-commerce giants need to establish service area pages in their websites to enable being displayed on search results.

    Typical Search Results

    fig 1

    fig 2

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    Brands That Missed and Those That Scored A Hit

    Discounting the sponsored listings at the top of the SERP, the generally anticipated results would have had listings of the following bags right on top, if popularity or desirability parameters were to be considered : –

    Hidesign, Lavie, Caprese, Baggit, Ladida, The House of Tara, Da Milano, Lino Perros, Pepperone, Kara.

    However, other location relevant listings have been displayed. E-commerce sites that have taken notice of the above have incorporated service areas in their websites to get listed along with local listings. This, in a nutshell, is the game changer.

    Significance of SEO, Reviews and Updation

    More often than not, mid-size firms with a monopoly tend to neglect responding to reviews. But the present quality rater guidelines ensures that such business houses strive to respond and interact with clientele to improve review ratings and to optimise keywords to get snared in SERPs, and be displayed prominently. SERPs are not unplanned acts, but are a result of programming effort and painstaking data mining for quality rating.

    Bottom-Line – E M B R A C E Thy Neighbour

    The future holds promise for the consumer, offering options to avail quality service in the convenience of the neighbourhood, while at the same time spurring business houses to implement better practices. Firms, without distinction, need to embrace Search Engine Optimisation while designing their sites.

    The unfurled flag of digital marketing companies will continue to fly high with renewed vigour, being in an enviable position to help create a significant digital imprint that gets noticed by the web that Google has spun around the net.

     

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