Weekly SEO news: 3 May 2016
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Official: how to rank in Google's local search results

Getting ranked in Google's local search results is very important if your business offers products or services in a particular local area. For the local results, Google uses a different ranking algorithm than for the regular organic results.

local rankings

How can you make sure that your website gets listed in the local results in relevant areas? Google has published official information on how to get listed for relevant searches in your area:

1. Make sure that your data is complete

Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.

Make sure that you’ve entered all of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you. Instructions on how to edit your business data can be found here.

2. Provide as much information as possible

Provide information like (but not limited to) your physical address, phone number, and category. Make sure to keep this information updated as your business changes.

3. Verify your business locations

Verify your business locations to give them the best opportunity to appear for users across Google products, like Maps and Search. Instructions on how to verify your business can be found here.

4. Keep your opening hours accurate

Entering and updating your opening hours, including special hours for holidays and special events, lets potential customers know when you’re available and gives them confidence that when they travel to your location, it will be open. Updated opening hours Google that your business is still in business. You can update your opening hours here.

5. Respond to reviews

Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Further information can be found here

6. Add photos to show your goods and services

Adding photos to your listings shows people your goods and services, and can help you tell the story of your business. Accurate and appealing pictures may also show potential customers that your business offers what they’re searching for. Learn how to add photos here.

local ranking algorithm

Google uses different factors to determine the local rankings

Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search.

For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that's farther away from your location is more likely to have what you're looking for than a business that's closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.

  • Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
  • Distance is another factor. How far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn't specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
  • Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.

Traditional factors such as links are also important

Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business's local ranking.

Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.

In addition to the above, there are several things that you can do to get better rankings on Google. The tools in SEOprofiler help you to do that. If you haven't done it yet, try SEOprofiler now:

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
Google: how we fought webspam in 2015

"Our algorithms addressed the vast majority of webspam and search quality improvement for users. One of our algorithmic updates helped to remove the amount of hacked spam in search results.

The rest of spam was tackled manually. We sent more than 4.3 million messages to webmasters to notify them of manual actions we took on their site and to help them identify the issues.

We saw a 33% increase in the number of sites that went through spam clean-up efforts towards a successful reconsideration process."

GoogleGoogle: keep redirects indefinitely but one can remove them after Google indexes

"Last September we reported that Google says it is best to keep redirects live for a year or so and even better, keep the redirects live for as long as you possible can.

Gary Illyes from Google said this morning on Twitter that you can remove the redirects 'if the new page is already indexed.'"

Google: Community through comments help a lot with ranking

"Gary Illyes from Google said on Twitter that having a thriving community helps with rankings. He said 'a healthy, thriving community on a site, that can help a lot' when it comes to Google rankings. [...]

How important are the comments on your site and the community on your site relative to links or content? Not as important at all."

Related: Why blog comments are great for Google SEO and users

New York TimesNY Times: Is Google a harmful monopoly?

"European regulators have charged [Google] with violating antitrust laws by using Android, which controls more than 80 percent of the world market, to promote its own services over those of others.

Does Google have an unfair and harmful monopoly, or should a company be allowed to have such market control if it provides the best product?"

Gary Illyes: We're Google spokespersons - it's our job

"I often hear people saying on Twitter and other places that Gary Illyes, John Mueller, Zineb and others don't know what they are talking about or they aren't the official Google word. They are. Their jobs as webmaster trends analysts are to communicate with webmasters and be a spokesperson for Google in that arena. [...]

We're spokespeople for Google search, it's part of our job to help people with advice and escalations."

Search engine newslets

  • Google dominance grows with mobile search.
  • Google: This year’s founders' letter.
  • Russian search engine Yandex announces Q1/2016 financial results.
  • Google: ten years of Google Translate.
3. Recommended resources


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  • website analytics
  • tools for spam-free link building
  • link disinfection tool
  • social media monitoring
  • white-label reports (web-based and PDF)
  • AdWords Profiler and Ranking Profiler
  • Domain Finder tool
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