Fix Local Search, Google. I'm Sick of Talking About It.
An Open Letter to Google
There’s a problem with your local search rankings, and it’s time to make a change. As the Director of Inbound Marketing for an agency that represents service-based companies, I’ve learned quickly that the only way for these businesses to rank locally is for them to open physical locations closest to their prime service area. They’re forced to game your system when you, Google, have all the resources you need to rank them appropriately.
On behalf of all of our clients, I have one question for you: Why, if all service calls are completed off-site, should their physical location matter?
According to how you determine local ranking, it does matter. And based on my research, it really matters.
Important to note: I agree that distance matters for location-based businesses. But, with such an important vertical, why are service-based companies measured the same way? It’s not like you don’t know which category we fall under. We’re required to choose one or the other.
You also offer the option to include a service area, which means you understand the relevance of that information.
And finally, you have enough information to base results on individual search behavior and preferences, which you say you may use to determine the best result for each user.
So why, then, is location still the most important ranking factor for service businesses in local search? And why am I seeing companies who clearly didn’t correctly optimize their Google My Business listing showing up in the top results?
In all other respects, content and listing optimization dramatically impacts a business’s ranking. Using Google My Business properly should be just as important as any other type of SEO.
You’re capable of choosing results based on preferences, reviews, and habits. You gather service area data for a reason. And you know the physical location of a service business is irrelevant. Let’s can this distance nonsense once and for all.
- Frank Andolina, Director of Inbound Marketing
P.S. We love you, Google.