If you talk to most contractors, telling them about Google’s latest update (dubbed “Panda”) insights more talk about the San Diego zoo than about the search engine’s latest update. It’s an easy assertion to make that HVAC contractors care almost nothing about how Google changes their algorithm so its searches are more relevant.
But Google’s most recent update to their search engine rankings is incredibly important to all businesses, including contractors. In a nutshell, the latest update works to:
• Filter out low-quality sites that are deemed “not useful” by Google.
• Pay better attention to social media as part of the search engine rankings.
• Reward sites that have more relevant incoming links to the website (i.e., like if your local small business association links their website to yours).
A swarm of criticism has surrounded Google for months now as more people have complained about the lack of more refined, relevant search results. This “Panda” update worked to solve many of those issues. But, technicalities aside, this update tells us about where Google is at and where they are headed. After all, Google owns over 60% share of all searches AND the majority of your customers use search engines. Enough said.
To get the most out of Google’s update, there are some very simple things that contractors can do today that will make a difference now and into the future.
1. Evaluate your own site for content with characteristics of duplicated content. Many contractors still have websites that have syndicated resources sections in their websites (i.e., informational articles that a lot of other contractors use as well). If that’s you, that means that you have duplicate content on your website that perhaps hundreds of other contractors have as well. You can be penalized by Google for this.
2. Remove or move that content or make an effort to make that content more useful and valuable by adding information. Someone with substantial technical SEO and web development experience should be doing this.
3. Continue to focus on creating, original and useful content. More contractors are starting blogs these days, but it’s still not enough. The best antidote to fight against Google is to develop original content that your customers see as helpful.
4. Promote your content so that it attracts links from other web sites. For example, if your blog post gets picked up by Contracting Business or even the local newspaper, those links pointing back to your content are invaluable.
5. Make it easy for readers of your content to share socially - via Twitter, Facebook or other social channels. Social engagement with content and social sharing (links) are valuable signals for both search engines and users. Since Google is paying more attention to how content is shared socially, if you are not actively sharing your content through social media, you can be hurting your search engine rankings.
Overall, the biggest way to take advantage of Google’s new update is to develop valuable, relevant and compelling content on your website or blog on a consistent basis. Those contractors who do that will be rewarded with great search engine results. The rest, well, those will be hard to find at all.
Joe Pulizzi is CEO of SocialTract , a blogging/social media service for HVACR contractors. Joe is also co-author of Get Content Get Customers, which details how companies can publish content to drive revenues. SocialTract is a division of Z Squared Media, LLC . Joe can be reached at [email protected]. For speaking needs - http://joepulizzi.com.