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.