I recently read an esoteric but interesting article about a Google patent that was filed last year. This patent allows them to identify when a new business opens in a community. Among other things, they look for patterns of a larger than usual number of searches in an area that don’t result in any matches. The belief is that a new business doesn’t have any local online visibility when it opens, but they are likely doing advertising so locals know they exist. When these locals search online to get more information about the business, they get limited results. Google is algorithmically looking at these types of searches to find a pattern that would indicate that these searches are actually for a legitimate business that just doesn’t have an online presence yet.
There was one particular portion of the process that caught my eye:
Once filtered, the new term & its associated data like search location, Zip code etc. are sent to Google reviewers for manual verification about the new business.
So, once Google’s algorithm determines there may be a new business, they have an actual person do the work of verifying this is true.
What I’m about to suggest may be blasphemy coming from a tech guy, but we work with dozens of hyperlocal digital publishers, and one thing I’ve noticed is that they have a keen eye for new business openings and closings. They don’t need fancy algorithms to figure this out. In fact, they will typically write a story about a new business opening, since that tends to be news within a local community. So, here’s a non-tech and old fashioned suggestion from a tech guy for local businesses and publishers:
Before opening, make sure you have a website, register your business with Google My Business, and add your business listing to your local digital publisher site. Make sure that a search for your business online gets you results that you want your customers to see. When you have another moment, we suggest going through this full list of things you should do to be found locally.
If you don’t have an authoritative business directory on your site, get one now! When a new business opens (or sadly, when an existing business closes) make sure that your directory gets updated promptly. As you can see, having an authoritative and up to date directory listing is very important to folks like Google, so it should be for you too! Imagine if Google decided that your site was the most relevant place to get this local information!
When you write an article about the new business, make sure you link the article to their directory listing on your site. You should also provide the business owner a link they can put on their own site that links back to their listing on your site. This will help their local visibility. You could even have an “Opening Soon” section to your directory where you specifically highlight new businesses coming to town!