How do you Optimize for Universal and Personal Search?
First up is Andrew Beckman, CEO of Location 3 Media. He is giving an overview of Universal Search.
Starting back in 2006, Google started showing Local Maps, Videos, Images, News, Shopping, social. It keeps changing all the time. Within the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), much is showing up now besides just regular blue links to web pages.
He shows some examples of local map listings showing up on the SERPs. Google local listings were originally inputed oversees by hand from phone books. (I did not know that.) Now you can work with that data by claiming your listing via Google Places. It is getting more accurate over time.
for Local SEO, entering the same accurate data in other sites such as Yelp gives Google more to use.
For Video SEO, Create unique pages and add targeted phrases in the url, page and video titles, description, video tags, video site maps.
For Image SEO, use keyword rich image file names, alt text, surrounded keyword rich text, targeted url text, use jpgs (not gifs), use image site maps.
For News SEO, use permanent, unique urls, at least 3 digits, use sequential paragraphs, put dates between title, become an authority as a publisher.
For Shopping SEO, use the shopping feed. Use typical SEO techniques.
For Social SEO, timing is critical. Tweets get buried quickly, so you will need to time your posts so that your listing will get shown when your customer is searching. More specifically on Bing, the “like” feature in Facebook is making a difference.
Brian Combs is next. He is the principal at Ionadas Local LLC.
He needed to change his entire presentation due to the changes that Google made on October 27. Google local results looks completely different now and the ranking factors have changed.
He did an eye-tracking study on how people were using Google local pages. But now it has changed. When you do a Google local search now, the map image is now on the right side, not the left. The listings on the left are combining the local listings and organic SEO.
It is a blend of Organic and Local SEO.
Sentiment analysis is more prominent
Only one listing per company. Double listings are rare.
Update your local directories!
Listings without websites are extremely rare now.
The number of reviews and the source of them is much more prominent!
The ongoing debate…
Is this a reaction to Map spam? Perhaps. There was a lot of junk in there.
Are you limited by physical location? Not sure.
Is there less real estate for PPC? Yes. Top 2 are going to be more expensive because of this.
Are unclaimed listings showing less? Perhaps.
Is Google picking IYP winners and losers? It seems as if the ROI is not there to continue to work with Internet Yellow Pages. Google may be pushing them out. (No surprise there.)
Clearly, Google is changing things right now and it’s hard to determine exactly what is working and what is not. It is still all in motion.
Interestingly, in the old page for local listings, heat maps show that barely anyone looked at the actual map. That seems to be why Google moved it over to the right side where it will typically get ignored – still.
Greg Boser is next. (He’s another genius.)
He explains that the October 27 change was major. It changed everything in local search. Combining organic and local ranking factors changes the game.
He also noted that everyone that does a search is now assigned a location. When you check rankings, you now need to keep under consideration where you are searching from.
If you get a little too strong or heavy on one specific anchor text for one specific page, it is not site-wide punitive. Google may affect one specific phrase / page.
With this new arrangement, we are seeing that websites with good natural links and SEO on-page factors are doing the best. Also, be sure to put your accurate info on other sites such as Yelp.
Algorithmic trust is critical now for local listings rankings.
Companies that actually have a local presence are now dominating over the directories that simply list lots of sites.
Greg makes a great point. He explains that Google has moved from “organizing the world’s information” to “owning the world’s information”. If you are a local or small directory, they are not wanting to send people to you. They want to send traffic directly to where the user wants to go.
It is unlikely for Click Thru Rate to influence local much because it is easy to manipulate. However, Greg mentions that it does affect SEO rankings. If a lot of people click on your listing and return back to Google quickly, that is a signal to them that you did not provide what the user wanted.