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An old saying goes, the best place to hide a body is page 2 of Google results. There’s a big drop off in clicks “below the fold” of page 1, and an even greater drop-off on page 2. And the dropoff is getting steeper, according to Search Influence CEO Will Scott, because we’re conditioned to search again, rather than go to page 2.

This common SEO challenge is made even harder for SMBs, says Scott, because they’re viewed by Google as a “cesspool”.  There’s lots of cluttered and unstructured information that typically surrounds SMBs’ online presence. So Google tends to prefer the buttoned up and SEO-friendly attributes of established brands.

“The thing that we are coming to see more and more as Google continues to change the rules is that it’s important for small businesses and local businesses to start looking more like a brand,” said Scott during a presentation at last month’s BIA/Kelsey SMB (video below).

This message rings true for SMBs and those that help them with their online presence. But how is that done? There are lots of ways that Scott unpacks including some that aren’t necessarily search. This can include things like PR or presence on authoritative third party sites like Houzz.

“There are a lot of things you can do beyond search, that look like a brand. [like] online PR,” said Scott. “Some of it’s free, some of it’s paid, but the reality is, to Google it all looks the same.”

Scott’s full presentation is embedded below as Part I of the session. We’ll be back with Part II next week, featuring Brian Russell, COO of Media Distribution Solutions.

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