The New Google
In a past blog post, we looked the different parts of Google: maps, organics, and sponsored (pay per click). But since then, Google has changed its look—and its game. Now, when you search for a local company or service, the results display as a combination of the maps and organics, with a small map off to the right side that covers the sponsored results as you scroll down. Here’s a short-and-sweet look at how things have changed: the new search results page is on the left, the old is on the right. You can see the sponsored results highlighted in yellow, the maps listings in pink, and the organic search results in green.
Advertising in the New Google
Now that Google has reorganized its search results, it may be time to freshen up your advertising strategies a bit. The SEO specialists at Prospect Genius have hypothesized—and observed to be true—that having both an optimized organic search result and an optimized map search result is advantageous. Moreover, having the two tied together (i.e. including your optimized website in your optimized maps listing) is even better. This way your site will show up prominently in Google whether a prospective customer is searching in Google Places or just in Google itself.
Keyword Stuffing: Fast Track to the Back
To put it simply, keyword stuffing your company’s name or location is the leading way to get yourself rejected from Google Places or Google Maps. And that’s a serious problem, because with Google’s new blend of the maps and organic results, a rejected listing could set back your organic placement as well. Remember, as we discussed in the previous post, Google’s spam department can inflict wholesale penalties across the board, no matter which area of Google they find that you’ve committed bad behavior in. Don’t forget, these “penalties” are more than just a slap on the wrist: punishment can even include completely banning your website from Google! For example, this type of keyword stuffing can get you in major trouble with Google: say your company is called “Bob’s Services,” but you list your business on Google Places as “Bob’s Appliance HVAC Plumbing Heating Cooling and AC Services of Houston Plano Ft Worth and Sugarland.” This strategy is almost guaranteed to backfire. It certainly won’t fool Google and will definitely keep your listing from being activated. Why? Because Google compares what you entered in your listing with the info it has in its database about Bob’s Services, essentially trying to verify what the real information about the company is. When the information in all of the other online directories lists the business as “Bob’s Services,” Google will see that the keyword stuffed name entered on Google Places is just that, bogus. And when it uncovers a spammer (keyword stuffer or other rule-breaker), Google flags the listing for manual review, by an actual person. The end result is generally a major penalty for your website, including consequences that can extend to both your paid ads and organic results, not just maps listings! Think you’re safe just because you’ve never listed your business anywhere else on the web? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The simple truth is that the Internet is one giant recycling center. Information on websites is routinely harvested (plagiarized) by automated programs and used on other sites. So even if you haven’t personally included your company in an Internet directory or anywhere else on the web, your info—including business address, name, and phone—is probably still out there somewhere. Additionally, a company you hired to promote your business may have created listings that you don’t know about. For example, your local yellow pages directory may have posted your information on its website as well as printed it in hard copy. According to Google’s Guidelines, all of your business information must match (especially your business name and address) everywhere it appears on the web. This will gain you the best placement for your services once they are well optimized and help ensure that your listings won’t be rejected.
Be Proactive When Possible and Reactive When Necessary
Unsurprisingly, the best way to ensure you receive no penalties or rejections from Google is to do it right the first time! Of course, that isn’t always possible. Google’s guidelines do change and it’s easy to be unaware of some of the rules when you’re getting set up with Google. Or, if you made the mistake of working with an unscrupulous online advertiser, they may have engaged in underhanded practices on your behalf. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for these companies to take verboten shortcuts in the hopes that booming results the first month will get you to stay with their company in hopes of continued success… However, the good news is that Prospect Genius offers Google listing optimization services to help your company maximize your Internet marketing success. Our professionals are experts at fixing prior bad behaviors, and we can help you clean up your listings for the best results. We’ll make certain they’re working for you, not against you! To speak with a Prospect Genius team member about any of our programs (including maps and organics optimization), pick up the phone and give us a ring at (800) 689-1273 or visit our website (prospectgenius.com) to learn more.