What to Do About Google’s Algorithm Update and the Dex / YP Merger

There have been a couple of big news items recently. First, Google updated their search results algorithm in late June, and over the holiday weekend, Dex announced it was acquiring YP. In this video excerpt from our most recent Office Hours session, we cover what both of these changes mean to you and your clients … and what you need to do about them.

BTW, if you’re a VIP member, be sure to log in to the VIP area for the full Office Hours session video where we also go step-by-step through updating two of the major local business data providers, Localeze and Infogroup. These are two critical listings that every business must claim since Google, Facebook, Yelp, Apple and thousands of other sites and apps license local business data from these providers.

We’ll cover the other three data providers, Acxiom, Factual, and Foursquare, during our next weekly Office Hours session. And if you’re not a VIP member yet, click here to check it out!

Google Algorithm Update Transcript

ERIC SHANFELT:

Welcome to this first Office Hours Call that we’re having. Just a couple notes; this is going to be archived in the VIP section so you can refer back to it or other VIPs can see it when they get the chance. Also, if you don’t mind, use the comments section below and throw any questions you may happen to have in there.

A couple things we’re going to go over today is a Google algorithm update that happened late June that some people may be seeing some results for now. We’ll talk about the big merger that just happened over the July 4th weekend with Dex and Yellow Pages and what that means. And then we’re going to dive in on the data providers.

Now we were wanting to go through all four data providers, but with the news that happened with Google’s update and the Dex / YP merger, we’re only going to go through two of them today and then we’ll go through the rest of them next week during Office Hours.

So let’s talk about the Google algorithm update that just happened on June 25th. Of course, Google says that they always do updates, so they’ll never confirm a specific update. But you’re seeing reports in Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land and other places that there were some major updates.

I think the biggest thing is nail down what this really means and how it impacts you. Google is constantly making changes to their algorithms and how to rank search results. It’s good to be aware these updates, but I still boil it back down to, “OK, what does that mean to me and what should I be doing about it?”

This update seems to primarily impact organic search. Again, Google will never let you know what their algorithms do, but it looks like it’s impacting organic search, not a local business results, and it’s hitting the lower end results of the first page. Positions 6-10 is what Search Engine Journal is reporting. Again, I come back to how this impacts what my strategy is online. Google is going to make algorithm changes up and down, left to right, and things are constantly going to change. I think we can get crazy trying to chase search engine rankings and constantly keep up with the latest algorithm changes.

I think this is primarily Google trying to clean up results organic search at this point, not local business search results.

How does this change your strategy? For local business listing search results, I don’t think it really changes your strategy much at all. You’re still doing the right things to get your listings claimed, you’ve optimized your listings, and you’re doing the right things you need to do with your Google My Business listing. Nothing really changes.

On your website, if you’re putting out good content, have the right kind of website strategy, the right kind of landing pages, and the right kind of content that’s actually good content and not just fluff that’s being keyword stuffed, then you’re going to be fine. This isn’t going to necessarily impact you. We can go over some more website strategies at a later time, but in general, if you’re doing the right things for your website, you’re talking about what your business is, where you’re located, you’ve got the right NAP signals … all the stuff that Marcus talked about in his summit presentation … you’re going to be fine.

With your local business search results, Google’s update doesn’t really impact anything. Again, just a heads up on the algorithm, but when I boil it down to does this change anything? Does this change what my organic search strategy should be? Does it change what my local business strategy should be? I just don’t see this changing anything as long as you’re doing things right to begin with. If someone has some other thoughts on that though, please feel free to let us know. Always interested in some other opinions or research maybe out there, but that’s everything we can tell thus far.

Dex / YP Merger Transcript

ERIC SHANFELT

Let’s talk then about this big old merger, right? This came out right over the holiday. Dex and Yellow Pages (YP) have merged, actually, Dex acquired Yellow Pages. I think it was like $600 million or so. This is actually pretty congruent with Dex’s strategy here. They’re making a big push into local business software space online. A couple things just to keep in mind, nothing’s going to happen immediately, but this is going to make the new DexYP … which is a fantastic name, BTW … pretty doggone huge. Around 700,000 small to midsize businesses. My guess is they’re going to push everything to Dex’s Thryv platform.

I don’t think this necessarily changes your strategy, however. We’ve always said that YP was a pretty important listing to claim and  you can still get a free listing on YP. Dex hasn’t really been one of the top sites, it’s more one of the second-tier sites. But Dex also has a free business listing available. Again, we’ve always said it’s good to have those Yellow Page exposures. With the merger now, it’s going to bring those two together, and it’s probably going to simplify this. No idea yet if they’re still going to have free business listings, but I would imagine that they would.

But they’re working on trying to push people into their Thryv platform. If you’re not familiar with Thryv, Dex actually has a bit of a branding issue. It was Dex Online, Dex Media, and Dex Thryv. Now they’re merging with DexYP, but it’s all part of the same thing. So Thryv is the Dex platform. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not intimately familiar with Thryv. But they’re trying to position it as an end all, be all SMB marketing platform. I don’t know if it’s really living up to that yet, but they’re trying to provide a solution for reputation management, business listings, CRM, social media posting, and email. They’re trying to make it one-stop-shop for local business owners.

We’ll probably get the folks from Dex for an Office Hours call somewhere down the road and have them talk us through the Thryv platform. But if you have some experience with the Thryv platform already, feel free to let me know your experience with it. My guess is that they’re going to try focus both Dex and YP on the Thryv platform … that’s what they’re going to try to really move into.

So, again, what does this mean for your strategy? Right now, it doesn’t mean any change in my opinion. They are still two separate companies right now, and two free listings that you’ll want to claim for your business. If you’re working with a paid citation provider, like a BrightLocal or Whitespark or something like that, Dex and YP are two of the listings that they can claim for you. Or you can just claim them yourself directly.

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Eric is the Founder and CEO of Local Marketing Institute. He has 25 years of experience in digital marketing and has been the Chief Digital Officer for several B2B and consumer media companies. Eric has a passion for local businesses and focuses on practical digital strategies to help them attract more customers, build customer loyalty, and grow their business.