How Recent Changes to Google Search Impact Your Results
If you haven't followed Google search lately, you are in for a couple surprises. Not long ago, Google announced implementation of Instant and Place Search - both of which will impact your site's search results in pretty big ways.
First up, Google Instant.
If you've done a Google search lately, you probably noticed that as you enter text into the search box, the results on the page change. This provides the user the opportunity to peruse the results quickly and continue to add words to their search in order to hone in on the answer they are seeking.
This user behavior radically changes how SEO works. Gone are the days when a simple individual key word rules how results are ranked. The best way to adapt to this new reality is to have good, helpful content on a website that is updated frequently. "Why is that?" you may ask. Here are a couple reasons why:
1) Helpful content is naturally full of the words that people are looking for - particularly if written in a conversational style. (see Creating Content Doesn't Have to be Difficult for more details). These words - when indexed by Google's search spiders, provide a better match to the words that are being entered into the search field.
2) If you've uploaded a sitemap to Google Webmaster tools, a website that is updated frequently will likely be indexed by the Search Engine spider with each update. Each visit is more comprehensive and deeper - resulting in more of your good content being added to the search database.
Bottomline: Don't be afraid that your content isn't "Instant optimized" - just be sure to check that your content includes enough rich content that your visitors are looking for. Take a look at it with new eyes and revise what's there if you're unhappy with what you see. Also, start adding content on a regular basis so the Search Spiders will come back more often to spin their webs thicker.
Second - Place Search.
As I noted in my latest ClickWrite blog post (Google Place Search + Microsites = A Winning Combination), Place Search is a pretty phenominal opportunity for local search success.
Even if you don't have a microsite network you would be foolish not to utilize Google Places. Not only will you have one more "outpost" to connect to your "homebase" but you will continue to provide helpful content to your potential customer. This has an amazing attraction potential and increases your awareness
Bottomline: If you have a local business and are not yet on Google Places - RUN, don't walk and get your ad set up. You will see something amazing - and it's free. Still have an excuse? I didn't think so...;-)