With 2020 in full swing, do you have all of the info you need to master Google’s search results? If your answer is no, our team is here to give you the details!
Google pushes updates out on a daily basis, so it would not be surprising if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed. The most frustrating part can be that most updates will have zero to little impact on your business, but you certainly don’t want to miss the ones that do.
Keeping home service businesses including HVAC, plumbing, electrical and solar in mind, we’ve collected the top 5 Google updates that will have an impact on your business moving into 2020.
#1: Google Added Favicons to Organic Search Results
In late May of 2019, Google introduced favicons to mobile organic search results. At the time, it had been over a year since Google had made a major change to the design of search engine result pages. A favicon, which is a small visual that represents your brand, is now placed to the immediate left of a search result, next to the URL of the featured page. Starting in January 2020 Google began testing this treatment in desktop results as well.
Because a favicon is unique to your website, it’s a great way to draw attention to your result using colors and shapes that will draw the eye. Websites that do not define a favicon using Google’s guidelines will show a standardized, blue icon that looks like a folder. As a home service business, it’s important to use whatever tools are available to help your business stand out against the competition. We recommend using a favicon that contrasts against a white background.
#2: Search Ads Are More Integrated within Search Results
Where favicons are displayed for organic search results, Google now displays a black “Ad” disclaimer next to PPC ads. Based on a user study which asked 428 users to identify ads over organic results, “users were unable to distinguish them between 77% and 83% of the time…”
Google’s new favicon result appears to show an improvement in user advert recognition, however, there is also a large increase in the percentage of users who think that natural search results are adverts.”
While Google is still testing this format on desktop, we may see a behavioral change in the way users interact with organic and paid listings. If your home service business is not capturing leads through different marketing mediums, you may miss out.
#3: Google Has Recently Rolled out a Core Algorithm Update
Google continually tweaks its search results on a daily basis, but generally reserves major changes to its Core Algorithm for a few limited batches within a year. The Core Algorithm is essentially Google’s secret sauce, so when changes are made to this formula, it will have a major impact on search results globally.
Though Google has not released the nature of the most recent update in January 2020, one thing that contractors can count on is that if they have low-quality content, they may see a negative impact in their search rankings. On the flip side, contractors that have high-quality content may see a positive impact in the search rankings. Since fully rolling out, iMarket websites have seen a 3.83% increase in keyword visibility on the 1st page of search engine results.
#4: Search Crawlers Have a Better Understanding of Searchers’ Intent
In October of 2019, Google released BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), an update that impacts around 10% of search queries. The purpose of this update is to better understand natural language and searchers’ intent. More specifically, it enables search robots to process words in relation to all other words in a sentence, rather than one-by-one in order.
This is especially relevant for home service topics that may produce unrelated results such as “garbage disposal,” which may be a garbage disposal system, but it could also be a garbage disposal facility. The role of BERT is to catch the meaning of search queries to produce more relevant results.
#5: Organic Click-Through-Rates Have Declined on Mobile
With content-rich Google attributes such as PPC ads, Google Local Service Ads, rich snippets and Google My Business owning the top half of search result pages, user behavior is leaning away from the traditional organic click that we have become accustomed to in the last two decades. The result of this is that over half of all searches result in a paid-click or no-click action according to leading search data vendor Sparktoro.
With this being the case, it’s more important than ever that home service companies use a varied marketing approach to ensure that they reach their audience. Companies that focus on their brand, building a presence through SEM, SEO, Google Local Service Ads, and reputation management, will have the upper hand in this “zero-click” environment.
Amp Up Your Home Services Marketing Goals for 2020
What are your goals for 2020? Knowing how these Google updates will impact the home services industry, are you thinking of adding SEM? Reach out to our team let us know what you’re ready to learn more about this year.
To learn about what we offer, contact iMarket Solutions today. We are dedicated to contractor success!