Online marketing: SERPs depend on your needs

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Image: Håkan Dahlström, Flickr
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OK, so you’ve started a small business, registered with Google My Business and want to see what others see when they search for your brand. When you do the search, your side panel shows your brand, a little company info you input last week and your related social media profiles. 

What you were hoping to see was a map, some photos and a couple of client reviews. Those are nowhere to be found. But why are some businesses given different info on their side panel in the search results?

Well, there are two types of Google’s Knowledge graphs, in some cases displayed simultaneously; one is a brand based panel with the other is a local based panel. That isn’t to say one is better than the other. The optimal results depend on the type of business you run, and the way in which you want your online marketing to reach the target audience.

Let’s suppose your business venture is going well and you’ve just began branching out with a few locations. What’s better for your business: a brand panel or a local panel? Well this is where the answer becomes a little less straightforward.

What you want is a brand panel, so that when people search for your product nationwide they can begin to recognise your brand and the products related to the brand. If your shops are located throughout Devon and Cornwall, someone in the north in, say, Cumberland won’t find much use from a local information panel, but seeing your social media channels might encourage them to follow you and become involved in the brand.

On the other hand, if someone in Devon or Cornwall searches your business, a brand panel won’t let them know that you have a new location nearby. In this case a local panel is more useful to your business.

Fortunately, Google has a solution to this which is a kind of hybrid brand/local panel. Say you have multiple locations, a person searching for your company will find a brand panel with the relevant social media channels on the right-hand side of the page, while a map in the centre search will point to your three nearest branches, each with relevant info like opening times and contact details.

Really, the best panel depends on your audience and where they’re located relative to your business. If your business utilises on online and content marketing services, a local panel may not necessary unless you want to point people to a head office or warehouse where they can purchase products in-person.

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