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  1. #1
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    How smart is Google search?

    I have several years experience in IT, but so far no real experience with web, marketing, or SEO. I'm starting to get into SEO because my boss in another job (not IT related) wants to make sure his business pops up first in Google search. There are of course two issues at play:
    1) There are several different things people might be searching which we'd want to be found (for example, if it is an Italian restaurant, people might search for "Italian", "pasta", "restaurant", "food", etc.) He wants exposure for all different things people may search for.
    2) We live in a city that is part of a larger metropolitan area. So people may be searching for a couple of different locations that we are close enough to.

    What I need to do is make it so Google likes all the different ways people can search for the site. I need to make a Google+ page (and later a website, but the Google+ should be easier to work with for now) work with all sorts of different searches. Using the example above, there's a couple ways I can think to write the description in the About section:

    1) Italian restaurant in the Lakewood, WA and Tacoma, WA area. Best pasta in town. Come in and try our food.

    2) Italian food in Lakewood, WA. Great restaurant in Lakewood, WA. Best food in...

    Essentially, my question is how likely is it going to be that the first paragraph gets hits with all of the different searches? Will Google pull out the keywords and make sure they all line up? Or will it be searching for phrases, and if I don't spell out each phrase it's likely to get pushed down?

    My second question is if there is a way to place tags on a Google+ site that will get the search hits without looking like a badly written description section.

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  3. #2
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    Re: How smart is Google search?

    First off, welcome to the world of local search/seo!

    When it comes to Google, if your mindset is "How do I make Google rank me for everything I want" you may be going at it all wrong. (not necessarily saying you are thinking that way). Your intentions need to be "How do I satisfy the customers needs?"

    If you please the reader/customer, then Google will love you.

    If you stuff a description with excessive keywords and repeat keywords/cities, you will lose and get no rankings as Google is one smart cookie. (Very Smart!)

    You really need to have a website for maximum results to connect to your Google+ Page, but just getting started is better than not getting started.

    For content, the more the better, as long as it is useful and beneficial to the customer. Describe your location, talk about your food and specials, list your business hours and any happy hour times or lunch times..etc. Get reviews (don't fake them, start getting real ones) on your G+ Page and Yelp.

    Also, spend some time reading this forum. There are a LOT of great resources and How-To type posts here that should help point you in the right direction.

    A word of caution though, if you go too far in the wrong direction when dealing with Local Search, it is very hard and time consuming to get back to the right side. That is why I suggest reading a bit from the forum before jumping in.

    And if you need additional help or have more questions, just ask. We are a friendly bunch and love to help.

  4. #3
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    Re: How smart is Google search?

    There is a website...an out of date website that needs to be search optimized, but there is a website.

    There are also already multiple Google+ pages so that they will pop up under different searches. I want to optimize one so I can convince him to get rid of the others. When you have one page with several reviews and another that has none, what is the point of having the second page? But he won't get rid of it if we can't make the main page show up on all the different searches.

  5. #4
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    Re: How smart is Google search?

    Quote Originally Posted by skribs View Post
    There are also already multiple Google+ pages so that they will pop up under different searches. I want to optimize one so I can convince him to get rid of the others. When you have one page with several reviews and another that has none, what is the point of having the second page? But he won't get rid of it if we can't make the main page show up on all the different searches.
    What do you mean by: "multiple Google+ pages so that they will pop up under different searches"?

    If he has more than one G+ Local page for a location - that's a violation.

    If he has set up additional locations at virtual offices or friends or employees homes to try to rank in other towns, that's a violation.

    He should know that serious violations can cause ALL your listings to be suspended and then you won't rank for anything and all reviews will be gone. (But I'm just guessing there is a problem here based on what was said. Can't really tell without looking.)

    To be able to advise we really need to see the G+ L listings if you can share them. There are hundreds of variables to local search, many other violations that could be at play and over 200 ranking factors. So without seeing the listings we'll be just guessing in the dark pretty much.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  6. #5
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    Re: How smart is Google search?

    I meant exactly what I said. Multiple Google+ Local pages with different titles so that different searches can hit the page. Can you link me to where there is a violation?

  7. #6
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    Re: How smart is Google search?

    Quote Originally Posted by skribs View Post
    I meant exactly what I said. Multiple Google+ Local pages with different titles so that different searches can hit the page. Can you link me to where there is a violation?
    Ya but like I said G+ L is complicated. I can think of a few different ways to interpret what you just said. Some would be allowed and others would not. Also depends on the type of business and how each page is set up. Some industries could have more than one page - but most can't. (Which is why we need to see.)

    Here are the guidelines, and since you said you are new at this, should be your 1st stop. Really need to study and read between the lines. Google does not fully spell out everything, because that just let's spammers know where they draw the line. So there are a bunch of unwritten rules too, you'll come to learn as you work in the trenches.

    But the 2 violations we are talking about are pretty clearly spelled out.

    One page per business, per location has always been a rule. It's kind of like speeding, everyone in the industry knows it's not allowed. Some abuse it and don't get caught. The ones that do get caught are sometimes down for months and occasionally can't even get re-listed.

    "Do not create more than one page for each location of your business, either in a single account or multiple accounts."

    This part kind of alludes to it too: "A practitioner should not have multiple pages to cover all of his or her specializations."

    In other words don't set up extra pages for other services/keywords you want to rank for.

    The name thing is spelled out clearly.

    "Your name should reflect your business’ real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers." And then need to click "learn more" to read all the things that are not allowed - like adding city or keywords to the name.

    Additionally if he's using a fake keyword stuffed name, it can hurt more than help, because it messes up your citations and citations are one of the most important ranking factors.

    PLUS depending on how all of this is set up (which again we'd need to see cuz there are hundreds of scenarios) the multiple pages are likely hurting his ranking in another way as well and that could be exactly why the main listing with the reviews is not ranking.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  8. #7
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    Re: How smart is Google search?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Schueler View Post
    A word of caution though, if you go too far in the wrong direction when dealing with Local Search, it is very hard and time consuming to get back to the right side.
    It already sounds like this business has gone extremely far in the wrong direction.
    Multiple listings with different titles (aka: not business name). The clean up process on that could be a long and difficult road before getting back to ground zero and then going up from there.

    As Linda mentioned, start by reading the guidelines and then go from there.

    There is a website...an out of date website that needs to be search optimized, but there is a website.
    I would also work on bringing that site up to date and optimizing it. That plays a very big part in ranking.

  9. #8
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    Talking Re: How smart is Google search?

    Hi,

    Will chime in with my thoughts. When I build a new site (new site), I 100% target the customer and build a site with that in mind, then test the site with ads and from there I can get a better idea of keywords etc. For a restaurant (since I have built restaurant sites), you can utilise menu items to build a lot of content and things like functions etc. to build many pages. I found with this approach I usually get google love after about 6 months. From my ads I can find keywords for inspiration on what people might be searching for...

    I build this alongside a places ( my business, whatever you call it) and utilise feedback form on website to redirect customers to review sites. The great part about restaurants and their customers it that it is highly social and getting reviews is no problem.

    So as per earlier thoughts, if you focus on customer driven website, things happen nicely and with keyword feedback from google ads you have some inspiration for page build-outs.

    However, the basic on-page SEO will help you once you have established the site as it will read better in search results.

    For backlinks, associations with local businesses who frequent the restaurant is the way of obtaining some link love. I wont go into detail into how we obtain so many great links, but there are some highly trafficked and authority local club sites that do the trick.

    Have fun with it, One of my restaurant sites got about 200 unique visits every day and eventually had a PR4 rank after about a year.

    PS. I used that authority to link to other sites as well. Nice!

    PPS. I will reiterate the earlier thoughts about focus. It's so much more fun trying to keep the customer happy by building good info and ultimately becomes great optimised content rather than using the manipulation path.

    PPPS. Also, it is important when building out a huge authority type site (we had a 360 seat restaurant, functions catering all kinds of stuff) to protect the customer from all that, so make sure all that extra info is only available from relevant pages and not available from everywhere.

  10. #9
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    Re: How smart is Google search?

    Luckily the cleanup shouldn't be too bad. I will try to get it on track. The hardest part is going to be convincing him that one Local Page > multiple pages. Even if it wasn't against the regulations, you want all of the reviews to show up and you don't want to have to post content to multiple pages.

    The website is out of my hands. When I did web building before, it was 15 years ago with FrontPage, and apparently they don't make software like it anymore. That's for another discussion and not really relevant to this thread. I simply don't have the time to learn coding at the moment, so that's out of my hands.

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