Preface: What Some of Google’s Prior Updates Have Meant
I’m surprised I couldn’t find people talking about this. Maybe I didn’t search the right things. In their quest to become the best search engine, it seems Google continues to weigh the needs and wants of the end customer over business owners. What do I mean by this? Let me answer that question with another question:
How many times have you searched for something on Google and found the answer without having to click through to the page they’re sourcing the information from?
You take your phone out. You search, “What’s the best way to unclog a sink?”. There it is—cat staring you in the face, answers in front of you. Google has displayed a preview of what they deemed to be the most relevant article. If that preview satisfies my question, there’s no need for me to click on the article, right?
Why do we write blog articles? I’ve worked with business owners building blogs for a couple of years, and I know that two of the main reasons to write a blog are:
- Getting Leads
Now, if Google is displaying your article in this way, congratulations—you’ve met your SEO goal. The problem comes from #2. Someone found your information, but they may never have any idea that it even came from a hardworking business owner—that it came from you.
If someone who is searching never lands on your page, you don’t have any opportunity to convert them into a customer, and you also miss out on getting any brand recognition. We didn’t put all that work into our content, images, calls to action, and videos, right? Well, the latest update makes this a little better—if you know what to do with it.
What are Google’s New Changes?
Google’s newest update, which is live on mobile already, adds your business name and your logo to each of your search listings. There are two purposes they’ve stated for this:
- “To help you discover these new types of information and quickly determine what’s most useful for you.” –Google
- “This new design allows us to add more action buttons and helpful previews to search results cards, all while giving you a better sense of the web page’s content with clear attribution back to the source.” –Google
In plain English, #1 says they want to make the users’ experience easier and #2 says they want to be able to show you more useful information on their pages.
Displaying source names and icons is a great step toward giving businesses a little brand power; I’ll give them that. However, the second point seems to say they’re working on introducing more features that will keep customers on Google, rather than clicking through to your pages.
What Does This Mean to You?
Honestly, it’s a great change for Google’s (and your) customers. We want to find information faster and faster and I wouldn’t mind being able to make purchases right on Google’s pages; the less work I have to put in, the better.
However, if you’re a business owner with a website, the answer is a little different. Here’s the punchline:
It’s more important now than ever to have a clear, cohesive brand.
Your customers are going to get a small glimpse of your name and your logo. If they don’t know you, it’s an opportunity to have your brand seen. If they do know you, it’s an opportunity for them to choose you over your competitors because they’re more comfortable or familiar with your brand.
Here’s what I mean by clear and cohesive:
- Your logo is recognizable as a tiny image. Are you still using your old logo that’s long across and has your company’s name written in it? Try shrinking it down so it would fit on your fingernail. If people can’t tell what it is or what it says, something needs to change.
- Your name is consistent. Businesses can develop nicknames over time like McDonalds being called Micky D’s, but this isn’t really what I’m talking about. Look at your legal name, storefront sign, business cards, and all other collateral. Is your business’ name the same across all of them? For example, if someone knows you as BTL, they may not recognize the link by Big Trucking Limited.
- Your brand is established. What I mean by this is that your brand has guidelines that you follow all the time. I probably use this example too often, but you always know when you’re looking at an Apple commercial or web page. Everything they do follows specific guidelines, so when you see the commercial, you think of their logo, and when you see their logo, you remember everything else that you’ve seen from them.
With the right branding, Google’s new change can do some heavy lifting for you. You want people to see your tiny logo and immediately recall all of the great experiences they’ve had with you, or at least, subconsciously make them think “I like this brand” whether or not they can remember why.
Google isn’t going to stop offering their customers convenience on their own site, but, at least as a business owner, you can take advantage of the bone they are throwing you this time. Now go, go make yourself a square logo!