Research reveals New insight into the Google Algorithm

Hi, I’m Paul Steinbrueck and welcome to OurChurch.Com’s monthly SEO Update for December 2016, keeping you up to date on what’s happening in the world of search and how it affects you.

First, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. This is my gift to you – 30 days of search news and analysis summed up in 5 minutes. Merry Christmas!

In this month’s update, we’ve got news about more changes to Google’s local search listings and at the end we’ll reveal some important research about the biggest gaining Google search ranking factor of the year.

Let’s get to it…


1) Advanced Verification Drops 89% of Local Listings
Google is always trying to eliminate spam and questionable search listings. One area where this is pervasive is in local listings, especially for locksmiths and plumbers. Locksmith and plumbing companies often serve large metro areas covering lots of cities. To improve their search results in the cities they serve, they have been known to set up extra “locations” using virtual offices and create local listings for these “locations.”

Google noticed and started testing an advanced verification system in the San Diego area just for locksmiths and plumbers. The result? 89% fewer listings in the search results.

This is just a test, so it will be interesting to see if Google expands it to other areas and other industries. If you been thinking about setting up virtual offices and extra locations in Google, probably not a good idea.

2) Google CEO Shares Voice Search Data
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, recently announced during his Google I/O keynote that 20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches. This is a trend we’ve discussed previously and continues to grow.

When people search by voice, queries tend to be longer and more conversational. For example, while someone might search on their computer for the phrase “church SEO,” when doing a voice search they might ask, “Google how do I optimize my church website for better search rankings?”

So, if you want to optimize for voice search, consider creating pages and writing blog posts that answer common questions related to your organization and your field.

3) Ask for Reviews
I wrote about this on our Christian Web Trends blog last week, and want to mention it again here. Research from BrightLocal reveals ?91 percent of consumers rely on [online] reviews regularly or at least occasionally to inform their purchase decisions.? Online reviews also heavily factor in to people’s decision when looking for a church or school. But most organizations – especially churches and schools – make no effort to get online reviews.

The good news is BrightLocal?s research also reveals 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked.

So, get to work and start asking your business customers, your school?s parents, your ministry supporters, or your church members to post online reviews, especially on Google and Yelp. Email them. Bring it up in your next meeting.

4) The Biggest Gaining Google Search Ranking Factor
Google is constantly tweaking it’s search algorithms in an effort to provide people with the best search results. So, SEO researchers are constantly doing research to determine what factors affect search rankings most.

Searchmetrics recently released a study in which they found links, while still very important, declined slightly in importance over the last year. Meanwhile, content relevance increased in importance.

Marcus Tober says. ?User signals such as how often certain results are clicked and how long people spend on a page help the search engine get a sense of how well searchers? questions are answered. That allows it to continually refine and improve relevance.?

The lesson here is if you want better search rankings, it’s more important than ever to create content relevant to the keywords you want to rank well for.

That is all for this month?s update.

Remember, great search rankings are the gift that keep giving all year round, but unfortunately the elves have not figured out how to make them in Santa’s workshop. So, we all have to keep working for them.

If you have any questions or comments, please post a comment below.

And if there’s anything else we here at OurChurch.Com can do to help you live out your mission online, please contact us. We’d love to help!

Thanks for watching!

Comments are closed.