Curbside Ninja is a local SEO and mobile consulting service that I created to address the new challenges and opportunities in local search. My name is Al Remetch and I have been involved in Search Engine Optimization for over 6 years. In that period of times I have moved hundreds of businesses onto the first page of Google and most of those into the top three listing of the search results. Although I specialize in local search I’m just as skilled in moving websites and blog posts to page one as well. You have to be. One of the strongest ranking factors for local search is the strength of the business website.
But, as we all know, Google, search, and local search are changing drastically. Although the old school elements of keywords and page rank are still very important, (and I wouldn’t trust anybody who says they aren’t) it is true that social media is also becoming a huge ranking signal. And, of course, there is a lot of chatter about semantic search.
Beyond this, there are few more advances that are very exciting and will be very beneficial to local businesses.
- The new way that Google is displaying the search results for some businesses in what has been described as a carousel search results.
- The new Google Maps and the new opportunities they present.
- The growth of mobile and especially the introduction of Google Now.
Carousel Search Results
Google now returns search results for over 300 keywords in a carousel format. It is a banner at the top of the search results page. This is a search for Restaurants in Los Angeles.
The carousel has literally leveled the playing field of search results and changed the dynamics. In local search we started with a 10 pack, a map showing 1o businesses. Then that was reduced to 7 businesses, and now for some searches in smaller communities with less competitive keywords there is only a three pack.
But if your business is one of the luck ones displayed in a carousel search result it is almost equal exposure. It is not as important in this situation to be the number one search result. You will still be noticed if you are 7, 8, or 9. What counts now in today’s Instagram world is an attention grabbing photo that grabs one’s attention.
Unfortunately, many business are not yet capitalizing on this opportunity. They are failing to update their Google listings to include appealing graphics to capture the customers attention.
Businesses need updated listings with photos or graphics to get the buyers attention. Curbside Ninja can help.
Google’s New Maps
Google has made drastic changes to Google Maps. Although still in beta, many early adopters are already using the new maps. This new version of maps will be rolled out to everybody in the near future. In the new map the list of businesses is completely gone and only the names of the businesses appear. Below is a screen shot of a search for “auto insurance Phoenix”
Again, the playing field has been leveled somewhat. On this map it is no longer as important if you are number one in the search results or number 10. What is important is that your business is in big bold black type or if your business is a small red dot. Local SEO and a strong listing is now more important than ever.
Curbside Ninja knows what it takes to have your listing appear in print rather than being a small red dot.
Mobile, Search, and Google Now
Business Insider believes that by the end of 2013 there will be 1.4 billion smart phones in use. They estimate that 798 million will run Android and 294 million will run Apple’s iOS. Almost every Android phone has Google Now. Google Now makes it incredibly easy to conduct a search, especially for small businesses.
When you do a search on Google Now you get the screen similar to the one on the right.
Clicking on the name of the business launches the Google Local page. The Google Local Places page gives the business a tremendous opportunity to promote their business and tell it’s story in photos.
Unfortunately, many businesses have neglected their Google Local Places page and fail to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. In fact, when some potential customers visit this page the first thing they see is a glaring negative review. It is now more important than ever for businesses to embrace Google to not only promote their business, but to also maintain their online reputation.
Curbside Ninja is here to help business do just that and more. Top ranking in the search results have never been more important. When a mobile customer takes out their phone to contact a business, you want your business to be one of the first businesses they see.
Curbside Ninja, aka Al Remetch and company, is here to help local businesses get top ranking in Google’s search results and utilize Google’s new features to increase their exposure on the Internet to get more business and increase profits.
I’m a no none-sense type of guy that likes to skip the fluff and focus on getting the desired results for the customer.