It can be very disheartening for local businesses to realize that a huge, faceless corporation is controlling their identity, and, to some extent, their opportunities for success. But that’s exactly what Google does. Understanding Google’s motivation is the first step to getting some of your control back.
Google’s Good Angel
Google makes two definitive statements about what makes one site rank higher than another.
They will show websites in search results on the basis of whether or not the site has content relevant to the search term.
In order to show relevance, the site must be functional, and the content must be rich in related keywords and demonstrate E-A-T, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Those qualifications are for the benefit of Google’s primary customer – people using their search engine to find out about something. It’s a noble, almost altruistic goal. In order to do that, Google has created algorithms and programs that crawl your domain, make judgments, and index your pages accordingly. When someone enters a search term, they are not seeing live results; they are seeing results from whatever was indexed when Google last crawled the site.
Some of that is out of your control. We can send a message to Google’s bots that the site should be crawled again after new pages or content is added, but we are not able to “read Google’s mind” about how they will index the pages.
We can, however, make educated guesses and continually optimize and improve the quality of the content and the structure to make it more likely that Google will improve the site’s ranking after the next crawl. We can also be diligent about spotting new shifts in how Google determines if a site is mobile-friendly and make adjustments. We can also adapt to new information trickled out by Google about what kind of content they want to see; the latest buzz from Google has been about local reviews and more visual elements like non-stock photos and videos, for instance.
Google’s Bad Angel
In the end, though, it’s all about the $$$. Google is NOT a non-profit organization whose only goal is to deliver great search results. They want to make some money off of it, and they make a lot of it. So far they aren’t charging people who search. Instead, they have created a definite “pay to play” monopoly where websites (and the businesses who own them) need to pay in order be shown ahead of the other websites.
The real estate of Google search results is a clear indication of this incentive. Local business owners who want a chance at a “new-to-you” lead must spend money on Google Ads to show at the top of the search results. They are often bidding against huge franchise corporations with deeper pockets, so it’s very easy to spend beyond profitability.
How Can Local Businesses Win in the Google World?
If you are a Virtual Vision customer already, you are winning this battle already. We’ve cultivated a team of marketers and web developers who each are experts in at least one of the Google challenges. Behind the scenes, we continuously discover new ways to improve your digital presence while you do the same thing for your business on the ground.
Reports & Analysis of Website Performance
Service and Location Priorities
Profitable PPC Campaign Goals
Adaptability and Responsiveness
Partnerships and Relationships with Real People Who Know You and Your Business
The best thing you can do as a business owner, though, is to run a good business. Take excellent care of your customers and your team. Stand behind every job. We can then do our part as digital marketers so people can find you online and so that Google recognizes your value.