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Google Search Results Explained

I speak with a lot of people who have a hard time understanding the results of a Google search.  The Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) can be confusing to someone who is not familiar with Google’s logic.  One client, in particular, insisted he was showing up as number 7 on the search results when in reality he was showing up as number 2.  I explained to him that the first few results are actually ads.

I decided to create this post to help everyone gain a better comprehension of how to rank higher on the different sections of a Google search.  It’s not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.  The keys are diligence, testing, monitoring, and understanding..or just hire me!

Google Places for Business

The first image below the listings for Google Business.  If you have not claimed your Google Business listing I strongly encourage you to do so to prevent inaccuracies in contact and description information.  These results typically show up below the second or third entry of the organic search results.  So if you’re showing up 4th on the organic results it may appear that you are further down because of Google Business.    This is another reason to ensure that your Google Business information is accurate.

Google is going through some changes to these listings.  The plan is to incorporate Google+ with Google Places and as of this writing, it seems as though they are pretty close to accomplishing that.  Some indicators are there if you set up a Google+ Page today.

Google Plus Listings

Google Search Results

The next screenshot I have has 3 distinct areas.

The Blue section is Google Adwords.  These are listings that the business is paying to have placed on Google Search Results, and possibly partner sites.    Typically there are 4 ads at the top of the page and 5 at the bottom of the page but it depends on the search query.

Adwords are a great way to generate traffic, especially for new websites.  Imagine having your business listed in the ads, and in the organic results.  That would increase your credibility and potential clicks by 100% among users of Google.

Adwords uses a bidding system to determine how much your ads will cost.  Using appropriate keywords and good ad copy will decrease your cost per bid.  Careful research is critical to a successful campaign.

The Red section is Google Organic search results.  The people using Google to search for things almost never go past the first page.  In fact, 98% of Google users do not go past the first page.  While it’s impossible to rank for every keyword for most businesses you can rank for your most popular keywords.

You will want to research what keywords your business should be found with.  When I created this blog I used CT Plumber as an example.  I didn’t just use Plumber.   Google does narrow your search down based on your IP address but searching just plumber turns up sites like Wikipedia, BBB and List Directories dedicated to plumbers.   Broad keywords usually mean more competition which makes it tougher to rank at the top.  This is also true for Adwords although Adwords factors in ad copy.

The Green section is a map which places a peg with a letter in it.  The peg references a Google Business listing from a list similar to the one above.  Having an accurate listing is very important to your clients.  Potential clients do not like to be inconvenienced and will likely go elsewhere if you’re not where Google thinks you are.

GoogleSearchResults

 

Hopefully, that clears up any confusion for those of you using Google.  If you have any questions or want to move your business up on Google feel free to call 203-806-0736.

Have any feedback?  I’d love to hear it.

Penguin 2.0-What you need to know

Penguin 2.0

Another version of Linux?

Penguin 2.0 is not an operating system.  Penguin is an update to Google’s search algorithm.  Google released Penguin 2.0 on May 22nd, 2013.   Depending on your SEO efforts, or your SEO consultant’s efforts, your placement in Google’s search results may be impacted.  So let’s delve into what Penguin 2.0 means to you and what you can expect.

Stop Panicking…Maybe

Simply stated Google is after the web spammers, the Black Hat SEOs and others who try to game the Google search results.  If you are unsure of how this might impact you it might be a good idea to seek the advice of an Internet Marketing professional.

Don’t fret though.  Matt Cutt’s (Head of Google’s Web Spam Team) made the following statement on his blog, “About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice”.  You can see what Matt Cutts says you can expect as a result of this update by watching his video below.

What does Google want from me?

What Google wants is original content, there I said it.  If your website has original content and you are the author of that content then you will see an improvement in your search results.  Essentially Google wants the person posting the content to be the authority on that content.  You own it and you’re the expert on it.  If you cannot speak confidently on the topic then you may not be the authority on the content.

This may sound harsh but Google does not care if people can find your website.  Google cares whether or not those using their search engine receive the best possible results when searching for a specific term.  What that means to you is if you are creating content that users of Google want to see then it will be seen, because you are the authority of that content.

Google is trying to level the playing field, making it easier for those who don’t have a ton of money to spend on Black Hat SEO methods.  This update should truly benefit the small, local businesses trying to compete with the large corporations for the same customer.  Google has also cracked down on link farms (those who spam back-links for a price).  In doing so they have shut down 2 of the largest culprits as of this writing.

So what should I do?

Well not to overstate the theme here but your website should contain fresh, original content.  The content should be consistently updated and relevant to your website.  It’s really that simple but let’s be honest…not everyone likes to write, and not all websites can easily offer blogs that contain updated content on a consistent basis.  Some business sites aren’t as easy to update with new information about your business so that alternative is to tell stories about what it is you do.

Top 5 things to be aware of:

    1. Develop crisp, original and relevant content for your site
    2. Avoid Web Spam including:
      1. Keyword Stuffing
      2. Irrelevant and Paid Backlinks
      3. Overposting with links back to your site (Spamming)
      4. Using irrelevant keywords or irrelevant content
      5. Overuse of Keywords in Content
    3. Set up Google Authorship
    4. Develop your brand and authority in your area of expertise
    5. Develop your local SEO by ensuring content includes NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) whenever possible
    6. Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan.  Facebook, Twitter,  and Google+ (as well as others) should be a part of your everyday marketing plan

How can I check and correct back-links that may negatively impact me?

Google has a tool that will allow you to check for back-links that may impact your sites rank in their search results.  The Disavow tool will check for and automatically disavow links that may be considered spam or of low value to your site.  The Disavow tool is free to use and is part of the Google Webmaster Suite.

Penguins are friendly

The negative feedback you may have read about Penguin updates and Google are usually by those who have used Black Hat SEO methods, or have lived on the edge of ethical SEO for a while and are now feeling the impact of the algorithm updates.  Honest SEO efforts will not be affected negatively, and in fact will probably see positive results in search engine queries.  Continue to work on your online expertise, branding, and content and you will reap the rewards of an increased audience.

If you are unsure about your links or any other issues that may impact your site’s visibility on Google feel free to Contact Me!

Penguin

 

Isn’t he cute?