Is Relocation The New Ranking Tactic?

There is no doubt about Google’s ability to fight spam in rankings. This fact puts immense pressure on local search systems as small and large businesses try to outdo each other to be on the first page of search results. Some resourceful businesses have resorted to relocation as a tactic to have an advantage in rankings. But is this a good tactic? Read on to find out…

There are certain businesses like hotels, restaurants, dentists, florists, etc that are heavily dependent on rankings for their success. In such spheres the competition to stay at the top is always fierce and as a result such businesses engage in online promotions fairly aggressively. All sorts of keywords and keyword combinations are used to attain top search rankings. However, what these businesses fail to realize is that Google constantly changes its search results algorithms. Google takes into account numerous variables in an interlocking fashion. All the data is collected from the websites which have different update cycles, thus making it impossible to keep up with the changes incorporated by Google.

Relocations are a shortcuts and as is well known shortcuts rarely pay in the long term. The reason businesses are tempted to implement shortcuts is because they abruptly experience sharp drop in rankings. Such drop severely affects their revenue generation. Some of the shortcuts used for attaining top rankings on local searches are keyword spamming, launching number of microsites, posting numerous user reviews, or posting negative reviews of competitors, link building, etc. Now all this cannot be blamed on the businesses alone. Poor understanding of how Google’s rankings work is the real reason why people adopt such tactics. And when all this doesn’t work they think of relocation as the panacea of all ills. For example in 2006 and 2007 Google rankings listed those businesses on the top which were closest to the city centers; hence, the rush to relocate business. However, Google no longer gives undue weightage to the location of a business.

Today the location of the searcher is more important than the location of the business. And more often than not the location of the searcher determines the local search rankings. When a searcher uses his/her handheld device the location and the IP address play an important role in search result rankings. Businesses closest to the searcher are more likely to get top rankings. Another important thing that needs to be understood is that the popularity of the area also affects search result rankings. For example if area A is more popular then businesses from these areas are more likely to get top rankings rather than area B which is less travelled.

However, merely relocating to a popular area will still not affect ranking. The only way out is to be the best in the field you operate in and make sure that your business is not easy to dispose off or ignore in terms of ranking. Relocation may seem easy but it comes with numerous unforeseen problems. Try to do all the right online and offline things to promote your business and then if you are in a well traveled area it will be the icing on the cake.

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