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Google Results are a Mess

     
3:26 pm on Aug 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I work for a marketing agency in the US and while monitoring the SERPs across various industries, I have noticed if you search for a company within any sector without a locational qualifier, I am getting news articles, niche social sites, directories and out of state results. Depending on the industry either 0 or 1 first page result is an actual company within the region providing the service searched for. Is anyone else noticing these poor and irrelevant search results? Is this just a jumbling of results because of the prolonged Panda rollout or a symptom of a longer-term problem?
4:22 pm on Aug 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is this for any company, like a national or multinational company? Or is this for a local service provider? Or is this for a local brick and mortar?
4:30 pm on Aug 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The results I was referring to are generally local "service area" type businesses. While some in the varying industries have showrooms or "brick and mortar" locations as well, even those aren't showing up besides in the local 3-pack.
7:21 pm on Aug 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I was referring to are generally local "service area" type businesses.


So the ones that are of particular concern to you, the ones without a showroom or office, do they actually provide the service or do they provide information on where to find the services?
7:30 pm on Aug 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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They all provide services and I have seen problems for clients with and without showrooms. For a bit of context, the companies are all under the subcategory "home improvement" but the services offered are varied (home comfort, security, electrical, construction, etc.). I also have some informational client sites but I haven't seen the same issues when searching for informational queries. In fact, I have found informational sites when I was looking for terms that should lead to actual businesses (such as 'home improvement company').

I find it hard to believe any searcher searching for a company that is any sector of "home improvement" is looking for a company 1,000 miles away or a wikipedia page about home improvement (one for both the services and for the TV show).

Edit: Have been more of a lurker than a poster, so if mentioning specific industries is taboo I will get rid of this post.
7:12 am on Aug 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This may or may not apply to your situation.

Could be the term you're concerned about is too general and not necessarily what people use when searching for a kitchen remodeler, floor installer or a general contractor.

I think some general keyword phrases that appear to have a lot of search inventory are not necessarily with the intent we may think it has. It could be the user wants a home improvement loan. If that's the casethen it might make sense to show informational sites.

When I type "home improvement" in Google, Google Suggest offers home improvement loans as an alternate search. Google Suggest offers home improvement loans, home improvement stores and home improvement license. In my opinion that suggests there is ambiguity in the phrase Home Improvement.

Ambiguity can be a problem for shorter phrases. Maybe ambiguity isn't the correct word... Multiple meanings (pointing to multiple user intents) is what I really mean. When the query is general in nature then the meaning, what the user wants, can be unclear. The search engines use the data from past searches in order to understand what it is users mean when they type general phrases. Sometimes a high traffic phrase, particularly a short phrase, is not what we think it is. If that's the case then that explains why the results may not match up to what we expect. (As I recall, the user intent focus intensified soon after Larry Page became CEO at the time.)

Interestingly, the phrase Home Improvement has been losing searches [google.com]. That could be a sign that Google searchers are abandoning that phrase for more exact phrases.
8:19 am on Aug 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Also add that "your" location might be getting in the way of "local" results.

Bing, I know, will set your location, though you can turn that off (for a time, it keeps coming back) and G has their "personalization" krap, too. Defeat those and see what kind of results you get.

I do agree that the search might be too "general" to provide useful results.

If one searches for Example Company, This Town, Country by golly gee you should get that no matter your browser personalization by any of the search engines. IF YOU ARE NOT SEEING THAT then something else is getting in the way.
12:32 pm on Aug 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@martinibuster - thanks for the in depth recap. I do have an index of terms I search for and track though Google Trends and other means. The individual terms I have been searching were less broad than "home improvement" and the general point remains that if my search includes the term "company, the results should likely return companies that provide the service and not informational pages / news articles etc.
12:52 pm on Aug 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I just did a search for local service providers and there were some at the bottom of the page below the usual crap directories that may or may not have actual providers on said page.
1:06 pm on Aug 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@toidi - yeah it depends on the specific search I run and directories have been running the results for a while. I am just concerned when I start to see companies that are 100s of miles (and several states) away take over the few spots that were "reserved" for businesses before.

I feel like I am beating a dead horse with this but the search I am currently looking at has 2 news articles, 2 directories, Wikipedia, and 3 companies in New Jersey, Tennessee and a non-functioning site from Illinois. I am searching from New York and none of the companies that show up service more than a 50 mile radius so none (sans NJ) come anywhere close to serving my current location.
1:12 pm on Aug 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The ( so far unasked ) question has to be ..Are you taking about useless organic results and adwords results..or just useless organic results ..with better ( more usefull ) ..and "more local" adwords results ?..
1:18 pm on Aug 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Leosghost - The AdWords results are useful. Even the local results are alright. I am referring strictly to the organic results (which are all below the fold to begin with).
1:28 pm on Aug 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yep..kinda what ( based on "IME" ) I was expecting to be the case..