What were the biggest take-aways from twelve months of search data from 2017? How do you achieve local search domination in 2018? We’ve been crunching our orthodontist’s annual search result data and Blend’s Gio Greenard lays it all out before us.
2017 was definitely the year of the reviews. It’s often the case that Google rolls out trial runs in certain countries/areas to gauge the impact on the search engines before implementing an algorithm change across the board.
And last year was no different with reviews taking prominence and filters, namely ‘Sort by Rating’ in Google My Business (GMB) kicking in.
Now guess who benefitted from having pushed clients to get more reviews all year?
I’ll just leave you with that thought.
By the way if you’re having trouble getting reviews why not try our semi-automated system: Read more here.
As of late we have noticed Facebook making a major play in the local directory side of things, so we would strongly recommend you focus some efforts into building reviews on that particular platform, as we only see this platform growing in the local space given the insane amount of data they have on all users.
Links as always are important in any SEO campaign. But we envisage they will play a lesser role in the ranking algorithm over time owing to manipulation via PBN’s (private blog networks/fake websites) common sense would dictate that Google place less of an importance on links over time, and favour more crowd sourced signals such as reviews and user behaviour which is harder to artificially engineer on a consistent basis.
Our research has shown that in 2018 your will benefit hugely from ‘Google friendly’ user behaviour from your website visitors.
We noted that websites ranked mid page 1 in Google, having maybe weaker website metrics, took the forefront owing to higher click through rates (CTR).
In mere mortal terms, make sure you optimise your Title tags and Meta descriptions to their fullest, to get the edge over your competition who may rank above you temporarily until Google notes your website is being clicked through far more, inciting the notion that users find your entity far more relevant to the search query performed.
How to Craft Good Titles and Meta Descriptions?
We often take inspiration from using tag lines from Google ads together with the major selling points or slogans the doctor already has. Please note there is no one size fits all, so some testing and adjustments are always required.
Let’s take San Francisco for example;
From the search above you would be able to extract the key terms: trusted, convenience, $2000, Today.
In true Blue Peter fashion (it’s a Brit thing). Here is one I made earlier for the Manhattan Beach area.
Now go ahead and check this against your own (just type your brand name in Google) and see what improvements you could make. Does your website incite users to click through? Do you stand out from the crowd?
Dwell time – Pretty straight forward, the longer a user stays on your site and clicks around the better. Now we do have some close guarded ninja techniques we can share to improve this user metric but we would have to kill you first!
Okay, one thing you can do is simply improve the content of your site. We see far too many sites with very thin, uninformative blog posts and pages.
Granted, Google do like fresh content, partly in accordance with the Caffeine update. But we have to deliver content worthy of reading covering some major pain points in your industry, which leads me onto the final point… social shares.
The better your content the more likely it is that it will be shared via the major social networks. Google takes note of these social signals.
Below is a small snippet of some blogs that received a high number of social shares last year. We could now reverse engineer these blogs and replicate/ improve upon them to get our share of the traffic, as they have already been proven to be crowd pleasers on the social front.
Now you may be asking who is this guy and how do I know what he says works.
Fortunately, were in an industry that is hugely data based. Check these stats out.
California based orthodontist – ranking well for local and national terms, with huge growth over the last 12 months:
Ohio based orthodontist: parabolic climb:
New Jersey based Paediatric Dentist:
New Jersey & New York based Orthodontist: Huge growth over the last 12 months having come to us after a huge dip in traffic, we are now at an all-time high and climbing.
FB GroupIn summary, we believe in 2018 reviews and user signals will still be major factors in the rankings algorithm. One thing we haven’t covered which will be huge in 2018 in mobile search and usability but were save that for another blog post.
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2017 Wins and Predictions for 2018 Local Search Domination