Google: The Icy Weather Wizard?
Have you heard Google's latest bon mot? It's all the rage in the salon!
No, it's another animal-themed update, but things seem to be shaking up.
Looking at the MozCast, there certainly has been some intense weather as of late. And if you aren't' familiar with the Moz tool that keeps track of a vast amount of search engine data to predict what the next move of the search engine giant.
Google’s powerful machine learning system is called RankBrain, and it helps sift through search results to provide the most relevant websites for the searcher.
Now, we all know that Google has a habit of changing its algorithm fairly often, but its latest venture is known as deep learning - a system used to improve SEO rankings, so they better serve the user. This could just give local business a fresh start in an unsure age, speaking of the recent changes to net neutrality.
Although Google confirmed the existence of rank brain in 2015, it's seems like now is the time for it to make its appearance.
Now search can apply factors like the location, personalization, and the words of the query to determine the searcher’s true intent and thus deliver more relevant results.
This brings us to a day where local business can focus on their audience rather than working towards guessing the next trend in Google's algorithm... So what's the next trend in the marketing funnel? Rankbrain will most likely work towards the following:
Marketers that can get past this vertical will make a huge jump forward. This goes past the typical on page SEO and really gets into forming relationships within the niche. If you sell custom cue tips, (Next big seller?) the thing that sets you apart from the competition (there's some great custom cue tips out there...) is your brand's ability to identify with the customer.
Perhaps this revolves around creating a popular podcast or tried and true authentic relationships on twitter or in a forum. Reaching out and creating relationships with customers is the best thing we can do as small local businesses.
Although the value seems to be there when large corporations hire marketers to respond to complaints on twitter, imagine what it would look like for a small brand, that can actually enact change within their company, to start interacting.
We're hoping that this means marketing agencies become more prominent in the future, and are able to use data-driven interaction stats to better curate content.
In fact, it seems as this will be the outlying trend that separates the haves from the have nots. Perhaps this is where things get less creepy because I can't foresee any Terminator-esque robots rising up to review the newest iPhones or Star Wars sequel. Still, you never know.
Creepy as it might sound, Google is going to be watching thought leaders and taking their presence into account...If they aren't already...
It's interesting to see companies like Airbnb and Abodo already using viewer data and AI to determine how interactions should pay out. to determine factors like how much hosts should charge based on factors, like what time of year it is and how close their property is in proximity to their interests (Again, this is getting creepy).
So what can we do to arm ourselves against the oncoming AI?
So how does this affect the local search rankings?
Not dissimilar from the Pigeon update, local business is sure to be affected. The way that users interact on their phones, location metrics, and even services like yelp are bound to factor into the way Rankbrain sorts results.
As we move forward into the future it's best to start become active in these areas. What does that mean? Get your buck-slip out let's make a to-do list.
Regardless of that your local business is trying to do: Restaurant, Bar, Get customers to request services, etc. You'll find that users may be ranking your performance on Yelp. It's important to gain some kind of a presence there.
Perhaps customers haven't been actively critique or praising you, doesn't matter. You want to fill out local listing sites like Yelp to send signals to Google. We need more voices clamoring to tell them that you exist, these are your hours of operation, and likewise, this is what we do.
Local Map Pack:
It's worth mentioning that this is going to be a huge deal in the future. Trust me. Google wants people to have a great online experience with their maps feature and knowing what businesses are around searchers and helping them find their needs is a no-brainer.
As stated before, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and the like are your friend for local listings. Stick to the bigger name ones, and don't pay for listings. There are plenty of good sites to cite your business on.
It's incredibly important, if your business has moved or was listed incorrectly before, that we remedy these listing and get them all to send the right signals.
Once again, it's worth mentioning that more and more people are using smart phones as their means to use the web. That can be difficult to remember for those of us that work on a laptop or desktop computer all day. Still, this means creating web sites that function across all platforms.
A great mobile site will allow users to find pertinent information on the fly. Search Engine land created this Periodic Table of Search Engine Success factors
and though it can seem daunting to many, it's really quite concise. Just a bit more broad than we touched on here.
Marketing is about visibility and how will anyone see your business online if your site looks like this:
Who knows what that site is about, certainly not Google. You wouldn't expect to see this ranking among your mobiles searches for... well, anything.
User experience is so important for local businesses not to just be found, but if users see a mess on your website like this they'll be bounding from the page instantly (unless they stick around for a chuckle...unlikely).
This affects your site's bounce rate. Google loves to see users click-through pages, reading and scanning, for longer than a few thousandths of a second. It shows that users are finding value in the page, and Google exists to show their users pages of value.
Ultimately, if your page is helping users, than they don't want to rank your site. That's the golden rule of SEO and we can't cheat them on that.
So start checking off items on that buck-slip and optimize your local performance.
Let us know what you think the next big trends in Google's Icy path might be in the comments!