Impact of KitKat 4.4 on Local SEO with 5 takeaway actions

by | Nov 11, 2013

6 min read

Thanks to a certain geeky dedication. At 6am last Friday, one of our team members was the lucky owner of the new Google Nexus 5. Total cost incl. shipping from Singapore to Sydney was $419. The package arrived at 1pm on Monday and the first day of the week was pretty much a write off, playing with the new phone. This is our story of the first experimentation

Unbox Google Nexus 5

Unboxing Google Nexus 5

This review is about the impact of the new Android OS on local SEO. If you are looking for tech. specs and hardware review of the Nexus 5, we recommend the following guides:

Impact of KitKat 4.4 on Local SEO

Google Nexus 5 KitKat 4.4 Home screen

Location tile is in Power Control widget of KitKat 4.4

We will only go over the impact of latest Android version KitKat 4.4 on search, particularly on SEO. As you can see from the power control widget, there is a new tile for location which provides a hint for the focus of the change. The three important updates for search are:

Google Now is a part of home screen!

Google Now on KitKat 4.4

It’s a bit of surprise when you first play around with home screen and figure out that Google Now is permanently on the far left screen. Based on your location, it will show relevant cards to you including nearby events, places, photos and websites.

Google Local profile is your brand image now!

Main keywords, ratings and reviews are displayed in every card. These are taken from the local profile that you claim on Google Maps and from reviews on Google Local. The more you optimise local SEO for your business, the more your business will appear on Google Now, increasing your CTR and number of potential business.

Search and Google local data is integrated in phone Dial

Search and Google Local data in KitKat 4.4 phone  Dial

Search and Google Local data in KitKat 4.4 phone Dial

To us, this is the biggest change in the release in relating to SEO. Now, not only you can search for your contacts but also any keywords, business and location. It will show results of nearby local businesses and only businesses listing showing phone number will appear so you can call directly them from the dial app.

Your profile image and location is what potential customers see first

This means businesses that set up local SEO properly with profile image and phone number will gain higher CTRs, calls and goal completions. We highly recommend all business to do basic Local SEO regardless of whether you are an online or offline business by creating and claiming a local profile on Google Local. Then, you should make sure your website ranks on top of brand searches,.

Caller ID is improved for incoming calls

Improved Caller ID on KitKat 4.4

Next, caller ID is improved which means when we receive a call from number not in contact, Google will search for matched number from local profile listed in Google Maps. In incoming call profile, image associated with business and name will be displayed and saved in call log. For business branding, this is excellent because it is transparent for customers to know they are receiving calls from which company.

Five takeaway Local SEO actions for these changes from KitKat 4.4

  • Claim your business profile on Google Local (separate profile for each branch)
  • Fill out all important information including name, phone and address
  • Upload high quality profile image of your business on Google Local
  • Encourage your customers to review and upload images on Google Local
  • Ensure your website ranks top for brand search

Final Thoughts

Google has taken the next step in local SEO and digital marketing yet again. Businesses both offline and online need to be aware of the changes put forward by google in their KitKat 4.4 update.

Kirsten Tanner

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