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New local search trends, direct from Google's Matt Cutts

Google engineer Matt Cutts recently released a video for webmasters about upcoming trends in SEO, including local search. Google users and local SEO experts have seen a lot of recent changes from Google that have improved SEO for local businesses looking to optimize searches. Here are two changes to search rankings, direct from Cutts, and what they mean for small-business owners:

Less same-site results
During deep searches, or searches where the user goes through more than five search engine results pages, or SERPs, multiple results from the same site tend to pop up. As a response to user feedback about these clusters of results, Google plans to alter the search algorithm to make it less likely that users will see clusters of results the deeper they search.

What this means for small businesses:
This is a good sign for small businesses. Google's reduction of multiple results means that small-business owners have the opportunity to rank higher in searches if they have a good local search marketing strategy. As part of this strategy, small businesses can test and refine longtail keywords - often used in deep searches - to appear higher in search results.

Ranking of authority
Google has shown signs recently that it wants to make the search even more social. Could it be taking tips from Bing? Bing recently rolled out limited testing of Klout integration into its searches, which features advice from Klout Experts in response to particular queries. It seems likely that Google will put its own twist on authority, but it's unclear what form that adaptation will take. What is clear is that Google's algorithm will start ranking sites a little bit higher if it believes a site has authority in a specific area.

What this means for small businesses:
Google's algorithm means that businesses have to show they are an authority in their particular realms. A good guess is that authority is signaled through positive business reviews; however, another good way to show authority is through content - blog posts, guest blog posts or news pieces, to name a few. For example, a local carpet business could blog about the best ways to remove stains from carpet or new fiber innovations that make particular carpets water-repellant. 

Small businesses should pay careful attention to Matt Cutts' frequent advice in order to optimize local search strategy.

Content Writer: Matt Rowe Matt Rowe Chief Technical Officer

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