How Google Algorithm Updates Affect Your Small Business
Google has made a number of major algorithm changes since its inception. With changes in the internet, Google has had to keep up. At times, search engines needed to prevent people from taking advantage of algorithms that only looked at exact match keywords. Because the internet is the number one marketing tool for businesses, even local businesses, Google has had to ensure that they are still giving their customers the best results.
Google has gone from a search engine that looked at content and returned exact match keywords (if you wrote an article containing the keyword 10 times, you would show up higher than someone whose article only showed it 5 times) to a complicated algorithm that takes into account a searcher’s location, the device they’re on, their past searches and interests as well as context and like keywords, as well as everything else Google knows about that particular search.
At the bottom of this post, you can find an infographic that explains the major Google Algorithm Updates in the past few years that affect local businesses. Each section includes a note on the name of the algorithm change. We also wrote an article back in June about the broad core update.
How do Google Algorithm updates affect a small business?
Businesses Should have Quality, Original Content
The more content relating to your subject the better. You don’t have to repeat the same main keyword over and over again, although you should identify keywords for a page and include them. However, you can do this easily by writing content that is relevant to your business and that gives your target user the information they need about your services and why they should choose you. You are your business’s subject matter expert, so let that show in your website content.
See: Florida, Panda, Penguin
Ensure Your Name, Address, & Phone Number Are Consistent and Correct
Name, address, & phone number (NAP) should be consistent on your website and across all your listings, particularly your Google My Business listing. You should get all the free listings you can, like Yellow Pages, Yelp, 411, but remember, paying for ads on these sites won’t help your Google rankings.
It’s important for Google to know your location because, as a local business, you want to get local customers. Google understands that customers want to find businesses near them, so they’ve put algorithms in place that favour local businesses.
Use Like Keywords and In-Depth Content
You can rank for keywords that Google recognizes as synonymous with the keywords in your content. This means that you don’t have to awkwardly insert every synonym of your keyword into an article that you’re writing.
Google uses machine learning to determine context in articles and other content so that they can deliver content similar to what you’re searching for. Small businesses should be aware of this because it prevents you from having to write stiff content and allows you to simply write as the expert you are.
See: Hummingbird, Rank Brain
Be Mobile Friendly
I know I might sound like a broken record, but you have to be mobile-friendly. Even as a small business, a great deal of your traffic can come from mobile. Plus, if you’re not mobile-friendly, you’ll miss out on top rankings you would otherwise have gotten on Google.
See: Mobilegeddon, Mobile First Indexing
Don’t Buy Spammy Links
Lastly, you can’t simply buy links from other websites. If you do, Google won’t take them into account and they won’t raise your rankings. It’s not money well spent. If you write great content, you’ll get links. Plus, a few days ago at the time of writing, Google just added the ability to add tags to links above their nofollow tag. These two new tags are sponsored, and user-generated content. This serves as further proof, that Google is well-aware of spammy link buying tactics and isn’t interested in such link authority.