How Google Uses Categories to Influence Search Results

What are Google Categories?

When you think about the type of results that Google pulls up when you search something you may start to noticed that it displays different types of results almost every time depending on what you type in. After years and years of keyword search data compiled by Google based on the way people search for things and what they are looking for they have decided to include their factors into their search algorithm to display more relevant results.

Some major influencing categories at this time are:

1. Reference

Notice below what types of results are showing up for the term “cover letter”. Most of the results are going to be wikis, and informational based websites. You are most likely not going to get a result for a single business owners website.

Reference

2. Local Search

This category tends to display local maps listings for the most part. They can display them in 7 packs and 3 packs depending on whether other local directories are relevant and deserve to be on the first page above the fold.

Local Search Google Local

3. News

The news category results are some of the most updated search results by Google. It is becoming very Geo-Targeted and most local news is taking precedent in search results over local news.

News Results

4. Videos

It is obvious when the video category has been searched in because Google displays mostly “rich snippets” video results. Most “How To” based keywords scream for a video result.

Video Results

5. Discussion

The discussion category is prominent when the searched term is a hot topic or something that is trending currently.

Social Discussions

6. Shopping

Most types of consumer products when searched in Google will result in Shopping listings like amazon, and other online shopping websites.

Shopping Results

How to avoid an uphill battle with Google

The best way to use this information on your websites of your clients websites is to reverse engineer the process. First, start by searching the desired keyword and simply looking at the types of results it displays. Based on the types of results you should be able to easily determine the category that Google places that keyword in. Once the category is determined you have to decide whether or not it will be easy for your site to rank high in that category. For example You don’t want to try to rank a homepage like tiresales.com for the keyword “how to change a tire” because the vast majority of the results will be videos and reference sites. Instead if you want to rank for “how to change a tire” creating a video and getting that ranked will be much easier than trying to get the homepage to rank. You could also look into getting a listing on one of those reference site pointing back at your own sites resource page for that search query.

I hope these insights were helpful and that they can be used to help local businesses grow. Stay tuned for more updates on the Google algorithm!

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