Your SEO Reports As Of 2014 Are Wrong And If You Are Local, You Can Kick The Big Boys Butts!
If you are getting SEO reports from any of the major services as of January 6, 2014 the information you are getting has about a 99.99% chance of being drastically flawed. Or in plain English, wrong.
Here is why. You may or may not be aware of this but Google has come out with some major change to their Algorithm in the past 60 days and I do mean major. The latest one was called Hummingbird, but it packed the punch of an Elephant and most people are not aware of this yet.
This has lead to under and over reporting by every single known SEO tool we have looked at and used. And we do mean all of them!
If you compare any of them you get wildly varying results both good and bad but in the mean, they are incorrect.
HERE IS WHY
I have not seen this published anywhere else so here is the big secret. Google is pushing Google Place and Google Map listings first on about 85% of all searches now.
What does this mean? In some cases that we have examined, a full 75% of traffic sees the Google + or Google Map page of a company first, and only then are they forwarded to the main website. Most websites do not directly show up on the vast majority of searches for local products or services any longer.
Here are two things you need to be aware of right away. A full 75% of your SEO customers will see your Google presence first and maybe ONLY your Google pages. That means if you have bad reviews they will never ever buy what you are selling and never click through to your website. So, good or bad, if you have crappy reviews, your business will be in the toilette until you get those buried with good ones period. You also need to have all of the information from your website about your product or service on your Google pages. Your Google Pages are now as important if not more so than your website.
WHAT THIS MEANS
What this means is that now, out of every 400 visitors, 300 are going to see your local listing first, with only about 100 going directly to your site. These 300 visitors will decide to buy or not based on what they see there!
The reason for this is actually brilliant on Google’s part. The listings now become homogenous and are easy for people to compare apples to apples. They have hours of operation, phone numbers and a map, plus more Google Ads. And now rather than having a national listing page for that search term, Google can now sell ads in 1,000 local search markets! Brilliant!!!!
The second thing is that that this also gives the little Mom and Pop business’s a chance to kick the big guys butts. And I do mean royally!
No here is the kicker, the big companies are clueless about this and they do not want to believe it nor, have I heard them telling their clients about it yet because they are scared shitless because it turns everything they do on their heads. I mean how do you explain to your customer that they just got their clocks cleaned by the local guy with a $250 a month budget when they are getting paid thousands?
So get your act together with your Google sites. If you have a Google Places listing you should know that Google is fast phasing them out and switching them all to Google + pages. What this means is that your pages may be jacked up in the interim and your control panel maybe a little whonky. This should be cleared up in a few weeks.
What you can do is go ahead and set up your Google + page. But you will have to get a new verification pin for it. You can usually get this by phone in just a few minutes unless you have a jacked up phone system. You have to have one that is answered by a real person when it is picked up. Phone trees and recorded message answering will not work. You are stuck with a post card.
The other thing is that toll free numbers are not your friend anymore. Make sure that you have a local phone number and that that number on your website and on your Google page match. Otherwise, you are fighting an uphill battle on ranking. Google likes congruency and local phone numbers.
Oh and I won’t leave you hanging on where to get accurate site data. Simply log into your Google Analytics and your Google Webmaster page and get the data directly from there and there is one other place you have to look, in your Google + page for you business there are stats. They only track the previous 30 days so you are going to have to check on a regular basis. I suspect they will add historical data soon. These are the only three places that are showing verifiable data at this time. If you don’t have Google Analytics and
Google Webmaster, they are easy to set up. Just Google them and do it and do not delay!
One more piece of good advice, if you have PPC campaigns going on, make sure you run them through Google and not outside reporting. Why? Because it appears that Google will give you brownie points in all kinds of ways including on ad placement and SEO, and their anlytics are far better and accurate than any third party now.
THE OTHER BIG HIDDEN ELEPHANT
There is one other area of visits that is really not taken into consideration and counted and that is on Google Maps. You should check and see where you stand there as well. Just go to Google Maps and see where you show up. This is significant because 54 percent of all mobile devices now use Google Maps as their search tool and guess what, Google listings show up in nearly 100% of those returns. Not your website! This means that over 50% of all likely visitors to your site are using this!
Basically while website SEO is still important, it just got shoved to the back seat and your local Google pages now carry 3x the clout as your website as of 2014.
Good luck out there, the whole SEO game just got turned on its head and I love it!
Easy Andrew Anderson
PS as always, if you need assistance and want to rank on the first page of Google, give us a shout. Happy 2014!