Google’s Local Algorithm Update: Here’s What You Should Know

Posted on December 19th, 2019 to Cannabis

“Neural matching”? “Naming conventions?” “Queries!?” Google isn’t great at putting their tech into layman’s terms, so we did.

In November, Google officially confirmed an update to their local search algorithm. This update came shortly after the natural language processing algorithm update called BERT, which happened in October 2019. Google’s aim is to be more precise and serve up more relevant results to searchers. If you have a cannabis or hemp company that depends on google traffic to drive business to your door, here’s what this means for you:

Content continues to reign supreme!

Informative, easy to grasp content that describes your web pages from the perspective of the user (ie. the person searching Google for cannabis products or services) is now more valuable for your site than ever, because Google can understand it better. Businesses must do a good job of writing long-form, unique, descriptive, and user-focused content. If you layer your website with meaningful, info-rich text, images, and videos, you will have a much better chance of outranking your competitors in the search results.

How Do I Write Impactful Content for SEO

Creating content may seem like a daunting task. However, since Google is always striving to create a better experience for searchers, just remember your customers! Put yourself in their shoes.

  • What’s most important to understand about your products or work?
  • What do customers like most about your brand?
  • Who are the people behind the company and how do their personalities influence the voice?
  • What is the page you are adding content to all about?

All of these are great prompts to begin thinking about user-focused content for your website.

I Wrote Out Some Content And Put It On My Site, What’s Next?

As important as the actual text is, you need to make sure Google can find & understand it. Google works by “crawling” (reading) every inch of every page on your site including what’s behind the scenes. You must first have rich, tasty content, and then you must structure that content with carefully placed keywords that you know people are actually searching. This way, both Google’s bots AND the humans who are searching for you can find, read, and interpret your text.

Think About What People Are Actually Searching To Find You!

As providers of SEO services, Cannaplanners does the leg work and the tedious keyword research to find out what people are actually searching. You’d be surprised by the many, many, differently-worded ways in which a customer can go looking for cannabis. They could range from “cannabis near me” to “hemp fabric store” to “weed chocolates legal?”

At The End Of The Day, Just Be Authentic

Thanks in part to the latest Google local search update, search engine optimization is becoming more about authenticity and less about gaming the system. When a client comes to us for an SEO strategy, we talk to them to learn more about their products and brand. Deeply grasping the nature of the business and the nuances of the products is what enables us to create the robust and informative kind of content that both people and Google ultimately need in order to learn about your business.

Competitive Research Is A Big Part of An Effective SEO Strategy

It’s also important to perform competitive research to get a better grasp of the search landscape surrounding a business (ask yourself – what are other customers searching and how are similar companies to mine getting found?). We use all of the information that we learn through our research to write content and place strategic keywords within metadata, heading tags, and internal links (three parts of what’s behind the scenes on your website). Through the combination of performing keyword research, writing quality content, tagging the content properly, and linking to and from it, we optimize websites page by page in order to improve their performance in Google Search results.

Time will tell if Google’s labyrinth just got a whole lot more navigable. Whatever happens, we’ll still be here picking through Google’s press releases with a fine tooth comb.

Interested in learning how SEO and proper digital marketing solutions can benefit your cannabis company?  Drop us a line below!

VP Digital Marketing, CMO

This post was written by Zach Santarsiero.

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