This year, search results for scuba diver training are showing learn to scuba dive, scuba diving manly and dive training magazine – a whole lot of topic-matches rather than straight phrase-matches.
A few years ago if you wanted to appear high in search results for longer phrases, such as “graphic design ideas for buildings” it wasn’t too hard, simply by having the exact phrase as the title of the page, and the same words appearing here and there in the text. But not so much now. When you search for a phrase, you see many topic-matches in the results rather than phrase-matches.
Google has been heading in the direction of matching topics to queries since their Google+ Local pages became the backbone of the Local-search ABC map-listing results. The Google+ Local page asks you to select categories, rather than keywords.
I’ve also noticed 2 other things …
(1) Local factors and Organic ones are influencing each other. Websites set up to do well in the main search results have been helping raise their associated Google+ Local page for over a year now. But improving the exposure of mentions in Local directories now influence website rank in the main results more than previously.
(2) The main results which used to be the same country-wide are varying depending on location for some searches.
What does this mean for a business that want’s good exposure in search results ? Well, concentrate on the topic and keep your website well-themed. You also need to be everywhere. But that’s not a bad thing, because the dissemination of content that refers to your site is good by itself.