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A Brief on Google Suggestions, Instant & Local Search

So with the combination of Google suggestions (autocomplete), Google Instant search and Local Search, this could really help your company or wreck it. It has been quite exciting for many in the industry (as many Google algorithm updates have been), but for those that began seeing “scam” following their company, that is a different story. Here are some pointers to keep your head intact.

Google Suggestions

Starting with Google Suggestions

Well, while at SMX, I’ve heard a few interesting things about Google suggestions, one being from Avi Wilensky. Here is the briefing of an experiment he did.

1. Chose a set of key phrases that no one would ever type
– Avi Wilensky tycoon
– Avi Wilensky rockstar

2. Crowdsourced his friends from different regions to repeat those specific search queries.

3. After a few weeks of this, things looked promising. When anyone began searching his name, Google began suggesting “tycoon” and “rockstar” following his name.

One of the main factors of Google’s algorithm factors being “popularity of search terms”. Google also states that these “predicted queries shown have been typed previously by Google users.” If you don’t have enough friends to make your company a rockstar, have you considered Mechanical Turk to do your bidding?

If you noticed that your company’s brand shows up followed by the word “scam”, that is because people are probably typing that in. This is an absolutely legitimate search. If a company has nothing to hide, then the results of this search shouldn’t be alarming to them. Sometimes, they may even be positive from sites like BBB. However, if the top results are negative, perhaps its time to consider some online reputation management.

In addition to search frequency, Erez Barak also reminds us to consider a few additional factors included Google’s search suggestions:

1. Location – What city are they searching from? Are they on their mobile phone?
2. Popularity – How popular has the topic been? Who is talking about it?
3. Personalized searches – Are you logged in? What are your preferences and what is your social circle talking about?
4. Recent and trending – Something hot on Google trends? Are they hot trends on twitter or frequently discussed on Facebook? Have you checked the Google news?
5. Rated content – Could your content be looked at as adult or non-adult appropriate?

Google Instant & You

Google Instant Search With FlashIs Google Instant search is going to kill SEO?  No. Like all good strategies, they change over time. Anthony Coleman acknowledges that our generation is the ADHD Generation, so adapt or die off. Instant has made a big impact. Here are a few quick tips to take advantage of the change.

For a geo-location page, should I optimize for “Web designer Los Angeles” or “Los Angeles web designer”? The later is the clear choice. If you don’t know why, check out John Vantine’s thoughts on Google Instant. Also, try targeting multiple geo-locations around the area instead of the big metro area. If your business resides in Los Angeles, dive a layer deeper and try having landing pages for the smaller cities within Los Angeles such as Redondo, Culver City and Santa Monica. By adding the non-metro, smaller cities, web users may find you easier.

Google Local Search Rundown

Geo-location and local search has got you down on the SERPs? Here’s how to rank for local search:

Google Local Search Pointer1. Make sure your listings across all domains are consistent–including your own domain. Adopt the best practices of SEO for your site but also make sure that the name, address, phone numbers and service descriptions align across other domains. You can do this by claiming your listings on all the following websites: Yelp, Google places, Merchant Circle, Yahoo! Local, Super Pages, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, Facebook Places and any other local business directories. If you must, consider services such as Acxiom or Localeze.

2. If you’re providing a good service, have people review it. The deciding factor may be that 4 star review on Yelp or that positive comment on Merchant Circle. An interesting prediction of how local search will rank businesses are by photos, videos, testimonials and mentions of the business on other websites. It may be a good time to encourage users to submit photos and videos to Flickr, Youtube and Panoramio.

3. Case studies performed by Max Thomas show that inbound links with keyword rich anchor text currently outweigh reviews and citations. Are you a dentist in Redondo? Devise clever ways to get people linking to your website with that anchor text. It could be through fundraisers, promotions, scholarships or even nurse appreciation week with 50% off professional teeth whitening.

SEO is changing. We can all agree to that. Make sure your strategy is constantly changing as well.