Google’s Knowledge Graph and use of Google My Business appears to have taken a step forward in understanding search entities this week as business profiles are appearing in the sidebar for keyword based searches.
It used to be the case that Google maps would appear in the side bar for location based searches such as ‘taxis’ (location set to Wilmslow) and this still does occur, as you can see in the example below. However this kind of result gives competitors visibility to the user, as local results can be seen within Google Maps, meaning that no company takes precedence over the other for who gets clicked, when the user leaves the search results page.
However, after searching for ‘Digital Marketing Agency’ in Chrome Incognito we saw Venn’s Google My Business profile appearing in the sidebar.
Based in Wilmslow we expect our website to appear in the SERPs at the top of the page but to see our Business Profile appear in the sidebar above PPC terms for a keyword based search is certainly something new that Google has launched.
What is interesting about this, is that if you search ‘Digital Marketing Agencies’ (location set to Wilmslow) then Google fetches the following result.
This is interesting as Branded3 are located in Leeds, with far more digital marketing agencies located Geographically nearer to Wilmslow, so we changed our location in the settings to Leeds and performed the same search, only to find that yet again Branded3 appear in the Business Profile for the keyword ‘Digital Marketing Agencies’ but don’t hold the same position for ‘Digital Marketing Agency’ as this is held by Stickyeyes (see below).
Why does Google give Branded3 such authority for the term ‘Digital Marketing Agencies’ but then not give it for the term ‘Digital Marketing Agency’ within its own city?
When the location is set to Wilmslow for the keyword ‘Digital Marketing Agencies’, Venn’s website appears higher in the search results than Branded3, who only appear on the page via a location based pin-placement. We assume that Google have placed Branded3 here as they feel they have the authority to be placed in the Business Place profile for that term.
When you perform the same search with the location set to Leeds a similar situation occurs, with enjoy-digital.co.uk appearing above branded3.com, but yet again the latter agency's Business Profile appears in the sidebar. This looks like it might be because Enjoy Digital don’t appear to have a Google My Business profile and so Google has passed the mantle on to Branded3 for the keyword within Leeds (see below).
This can be backed-up by searching for the keyword ‘Digital Marketing Agency’ (location set to Leeds), where Stickyeyes appear with the Business Profile in the sidebar. This is because Google is ranking them second in the SERPs for the term (as seen below), with the only other result above them being Koozai, who are located in Southampton and aren’t relevant for the Business Profile to appear in local search for Leeds, meaning that the highest ranking local company with a Google My Business profile are taking the space in the sidebar for relevant keyword searches.
We are also seeing similar results in mobile search with Google My Business getting a prominent position on the page, which is obviously going to result in higher CTR for the company who’s Business Profile is appearing (although it is shown below PPC listings).
Could schema.org be influencing these results at all as there is schema on our site and on the Branded3 site within the address on the homepage and Google is tying this into the Business Profile? This theory seems a little flawed as there isn’t any address schema on stickyeyes.com, so it would seem that Google My Business, with the aid of Google Maps are the influencing factors for these results.
It looks like Google is beginning to understand the relationship between keywords and Google My Business profiles, to create a primary position with the SERP that takes precedence over PPC (on desktop) and organic search for specific keywords. Could this potentially be a way that Google could monetise one of their products within the SERPs in the future?