Last week we looked into how listing management works. This week we’re following up with a Google algorithm update that is still causing aggravation for many local businesses.
The Google Vicinity Update and Its Impact on Local Businesses
You’ve probably noticed Google’s recent efforts to clean up spam in the local pack. One of these algorithm updates that targeted Google Business Profile (GBP) spam – the Vicinity Update – was rolled out towards the end of last year. Yet even now, many local businesses are still suffering the consequences.
As a refresher, in an attempt to deliver the most relevant local pack results to searchers, the Vicinity Update focused on keyword spam within a business’ name on their GBP. Unfortunately, businesses that legitimately had keywords in their business name were caught up by the update and faced negative consequences. Today, these businesses need help with strategies to overcome the negatives.
Applying EAT to a Google Business Profile Can Help Improve Placement
So, just what can you do to help your clients’ businesses recover? Well, first of all, their Google Business Profile must be optimized to a high standard – without triggering concerns about spam. Applying Google EAT to a business listing is one way to accomplish this.
- Expertise – Businesses must demonstrate expertise relating to what their audiences want. This can be done through content, GBP posts, videos and FAQs that highlight their expert status.
- Authoritativeness – Authority status can be built up by getting consistent positive reviews, answering customer questions, publishing GBP posts and even adding optimized images to the listing.
- Trustworthiness – Building trust takes time, but it’s crucial. Businesses must publish accurate information, respond to both positive and negative reviews – and be accessible to customers.
EAT applies to the business’ website and social media as well as the Google Business Profile itself. It’s important to periodically review the business on all these platforms, and have an ongoing strategy that helps them establish their expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.
Using Google’s Visual Search & Images to Improve Visibility
Have you been overlooking images? Creating and uploading high-quality images brings many benefits to a Google Business Profile. BrightLocal discusses why you’ll want to consider visual search for the images you upload to a GBP. If you’re not yet familiar with visual search, it’s essentially a search conducted using an image rather than text or voice.
And yes, there’s a reason for this – Google has become far better at understanding what is contained in an image – including faces, objects, properties, even possible explicit content. When a user gives Google permission to use their location during a visual search, local businesses with relevant products, services, facilities and attributes are likely to feature in the local pack results.
For a local business, this means that the images you upload must be relevant and accurate for the user and for Google’s visual search technology as well.
Visual search will benefit a business when they deliver accurate and relevant information through their images. However, visual search might go wrong if Google misinterprets the content of GBP images. In such instances, a business’ chances of a prominent local pack placement are limited.
In itself, posting images on a GBP is not complicated, but managing a franchise or multiple Google Business Profiles will reveal that the process can become quite time-intensive.
Fortunately, we do have a solution – using Advice Local’s Google Business Profile tool allows you to schedule images to publish at a set time – whether for a single GBP or multiples. Plus, our tool allows you to schedule GBP posts, upload questions and answers, even respond to reviews – just a small sample of the helpful features our tool provides.
Local Factors That Can Help Businesses Win
When it comes to local search results remember the magic trio – relevance, distance and prominence. Distance was one area where local businesses saw gains from the Vicinity Update.
Following Vicinity, Google may be more likely to feature smaller businesses over big companies when they are closer to a searcher’s location. As Search Engine Journal reported, local businesses that show prominence through reviews, citations and EAT can beat out the bigger brands.
How Local Businesses Can Respond to #Google’s Vicinity Update by @BernieColeman via @Advice_Local #GMB #GBP
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