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    2 Replies Latest reply on Feb 18, 2015 11:04 AM by Milleisen

    Does Google Eat Its Own Dog Food?

    blueskyglass Adventurer

      I run a window replacement business in Seattle Washington.  To market my business I use a number of marketing techniques including direct mail inserts, free standing mailers, online advertising and search engine marketing.  All of these methods of marketing new windows are important to my business and complement my referral business which is substantial.  Historically Google search results have favored me with good ranking for phrases that match my geographic areas.  Terms like replacement windows seattle, replacement windows bellevue, and even smaller towns like replacement windows kirkland and replacement windows redmond have produced top 5 rankings and a number of leads for me.

       

      Starting last September, it seems Google changed things so that what I was doing is not working as well any more.  Now I find that Google ranks directories like Yelp, BBB, Angies List, Superpages, and YP.com very high and have pushed down actual companies further down the rankings.  This is odd since what people are looking for are companies to provide a service not another directory.  You would think someone would enter "replacement windows company directories" instead of "replacement windows issaquah" if that were what people wanted.   So, in this case Google moved from improving the customer experience to damaging it.  Very strange indeed.

       

      After the drop in rankings, I started doing some very strong local outreach including sponsorships, charitable outreach, and high quality content to increase rankings.  If you have ever read Matt Whats-His-Name's information you will see that this is what he claims creates a good customer experience and improves company rankings....not for replacement windows!

       

      Since that time rankings have continued to fall for ALL local companies in this category including mine (you can see my site at www.blueskyglass.net) in spite of improved content.  Researching the companies that get ranked well it is clear that black hat techniques are still winning the rankings war for window replacement.  How odd.

       

      Google has created a Catch-22 like scenario where people following the rules and creating quality are damaged and hurt while companies that flaunt the rules and spam the system reap rewards.  If Google wants to incent companies to do what is right it has to put its ducks in order.

       

      In my opinion, the dog food is going uneaten and has gone to the (if people food goes to the dogs, where does dog food go when it goes bad?). Wise up Google.

        • Re: Does Google Eat Its Own Dog Food?
          Doug Fentiman Adventurer

          I feel your pain Blueskyglass. Google can be a frustrating beast to deal with. It seems as soon as you get their game figured out they move the cheese... while what you have been doing on your website is good, it may no longer be enough to get good ranking... and especially for a local based business. I have seen studies where "experts" claim that search optimization is 15% what you do on your website and 85% what Google finds about your company out on the Internet. That "stuff" out on the web is more difficult to control but it creates results if you get it right. Google is constantly changing and improving its search engine and it takes steady, constant effort to get and keep top rankings.

           

          I like to use a three legged stool analogy for successful Google local search ranking. To get good local search position you need:

          1. a good website with lots of localized keyword rich content (which it sounds like you have);
          2. your business listed on a wide variety of online directories (called citations) and, especially important, an optimized Google Plus page for your company;
          3. customer reviews with a variety of quality (not all 5 star), steady flow of new reviews, and reviews on a wide variety of website. A recent report places customer reviews as the 5th most important signal for local search ranking.

          If any one of these "legs" are missing, or weak, your local search result ranking will suffer. Local search has become a very specialized area within the bigger scope of search engine optimization. For bricks & mortar local companies getting all your local search "stuff" sorted out can make Google (and you) happy ;-)

           

          Hope this helps,

          Doug

          • Re: Does Google Eat Its Own Dog Food?
            Donald Seckler Wayfarer

            For local businesses what Doug said is correct. 

             

            Reviews on Google, Yelp and now Facebook will help.

             

            The most important thing is making sure that your NAP is consistent in the various online directories.  NAP is business name, address an phone number.  They should be consistent on your site, in Google and the various business directories around the web.

             

            Best,

             

            Don

            • Re: Does Google Eat Its Own Dog Food?
              Milleisen Scout

              I've found that blogging helps.  If you have original, quality content, and make entries on a consistent basis, Google will favor you.  The great (and bad too at the same time, I suppose) thing about blogging is that since it takes time to do and some time for it to show results, most of your competitors won't take time to do it.  I made a heavy investment in blogging on one of my consulting businesses and it has been tremendously successful.  If you don't believe me, google the phrase "SBA loan default" and look for JasonTees.com.  I think as of today I am only behind the SBA website on page 1 of organic google results.  And I did it by blogging.

               

              The other thing you should do in the mean time is look at whoever comes up first on organic search results, and figure out a way to get listed with those site.  Maybe even a paid campaign might be worth it, since you know they are very visible, so hopefully you will be too.