Recent Google Changes Affect Small Businesses

Google quietly changed their search algorithm and didn’t say anything for a month

I believe that small business owners don’t have a website for two main reasons – either lack of time or lack of know how. As we mentioned in our previous blog, Google recently made a change in their formulas that handles the search results. This falls under both of the reasons why a small business owner hasn’t made the jump into employing a business website. The owner  has no time to keep up with these changes – obviously they have a business to run. On top of that they need to know how these changes affect their small business website and their marketing strategy.

Quick History Lesson on Google

Google changes affect small businesses and shows its direction - picture from google.comForget Panda, Penguin and other code named updates to Google’s algorithm. Instead lets look at the main ideas behind all of Google’s updates. In the early 2000’s, Google changed the game and stopped responding to keyword stuffing. An example of keyword stuffing is if “Google changed their algorithm” or some variation of that phrase, were repeated into every other line of this blog.

A few years later, they got rid of the reciprocal links and began to address link farms. That mean’s that websites setup to show large amounts of similar category links made less of an impact on search rankings.

Four years ago, Google started to incorporate social media. A couple of years ago social media was much more incorporated into search engine rankings when Google+ made its debut.

A lot of this I am simplifying, and there were many more updates in addition to the ones I mentioned. Mainly I want to show small business owners the trend. Google used to be influenced by fancy code and loopholes. Today, Google is striving for a goal of being humanly compatible. It wants you to be able to ask it “Where do I pay my cable bill?” and instead of showing you your cable company’s home page, it will show you the exact page where you can pay your bill online. It wants you to ask “how do I cook a steak properly” and restaurants do not show up, but instead great articles showing you step by step instructions. Further, if you ask anything about location, it will take into consideration where you are, if you have set up Google to allow that. Such would be, if you were looking for a “website for your small business” and you were in the Austin area, you would (hopefully) arrive here. What is only going to matter, is if you truly match the intent and needs of the customer.

The difference between today and back in the early 2000’s, is that more and more, the internet is much more of a level playing field. It’s not 100% there yet, but it is moving in that direction. If you are the right fit for the customer and you have the information, product and services, customers will find you.

The Next Step

Hummingbird, Google’s latest update, is also bringing in a slight curve ball. Don’t worry, it is still very much a part of the bigger picture that we believe Google is after. As mentioned earlier, location seems to be one of the bigger topics that Google is incorporating into its “knowledge graph”. The trend is showing that Google is going to continue to merge its social media via Google+ more and more to its search results. It won’t be long before you can ask Google “what do my friends want to eat tonight”, Google will check your friends and their likes on Google+, check their calendars and come back and give you a listing of local Chinese fast food restaurants.

On the internet, it doesn’t matter if your business only has a few employees. Contact Austin Webpages today to get your Austin Small Business online. We know how Google changes affect small businesses. Call for your free quote and expand your customer base today!

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