Anyone can tell you that it has become increasingly difficult to rank a competitive website globally. Any website that pursues local search results is bound to have any easier time ranking
for its niche keywords. But, the push by Google towards more local results is becoming more apparent. The change would be a logical one, allowing room for more quality results to occupy higher positions but only in designated regions; but it’s a move towards diminishing the audience a website can reach. Perhaps this means new websites should only pursue local rankings and it might mean that power of reaching a global audience online will eventually become a thing of the past.
Which Results Should Be Local?
I think we can all agree that some results should be local. If you want to go out to eat, there’s just no point in seeing a restaurant result from another state unless you happen to be traveling to that state and you type in the state name plus the type of restaurant you are looking for. We can probably name plenty of other logical local results such as doctors, lawyers, etc. which are services we tend to pursue near our home towns.
It would also make sense that if there is no result for our query anywhere nearby that Google would present the nearest location, even if it were out of state. This might mean that businesses with unique services have the greatest potential of reaching broader audiences. If this proves to be the case, then thinking out of the box to present unique services to customers should become every business’ priority.
New Websites and Google
For the new website owner, Google may just serve as the equivalent of a Yellow Book ad; nothing more than another place to list one’s business. New webmasters may have to decide whether a local domain makes the most sense and whether they can compete against other businesses in their niche.
Results That Shouldn’t Be Local
Personally, I don’t think it makes sense for a “how to” query to be local. Does Google realize this or will they present results to see which type of result is more commonly chosen and rank the result type accordingly? If your child is doing a book report on birds, should the only results be local? We also have to remember that any time Wikipedia
has an answer to a query; Google chooses to show their results. Perhaps there will be a separation of information results and business results.
How will Google achieve a balance when it continues to favor certain authoritative websites? Will a new business stand a chance against the big brand in town that already has thousands of customer reviews? If the big brand is hogging up all the local business, why can’t the little guy reach out to customers outside of his territory? It seems like the advantages of having an online presence could diminish over time unless we come up with creative ways to take advantage of the loop holes. But, just as the government has managed to close up many of those, Google is bound to do that, too. The Penguin update has demonstrated that we are running out of tricks that work.