Local SEO Picture in 2015

 

Google continues to roll out new updates that could be hurting your businesses online strategy, the most recent being Pigeon. This constant change and evolution has forced the local SEO industry to adapt to these new sophisticated updates.

Local search has always been and will continue to be important. Google’s new local algorithm update, has brought a higher level of specificity and accuracy to local search.

What are some things you need to know?

When did it Roll out?

Pigeon rolled out on July 24, 2014. This update changed some local results and altered how Google handles location “cues”. Google is constantly rolling out updates to it’s core algorithms. Pigeon, is an attempt to align Google’s local algorithm with it’s core algorithms.

Pigeon affects Google Maps Search and Google Web Search

Searching for something in Google Maps previously returned very different results when compared to searches conducted via Google’s web search. Once Pigeon rolled out, web search and map search are more connected in terms of search results.

Specific types of Businesses Affected

Darren Shaw of Whitespark and Search Engine Land have observed that many different types of businesses experienced a negative hit from Pigeon. Some of these businesses/niches include:

  • Mold removal
  • DUI lawyer
  • DUI attorney
  • Real estate/realtors
  • Emergency plumber
  • Commercial: Painting, construction, remodeling (anything with commercial in front of it)

What do you NEED to do?

Google is becoming smarter and better at understanding of location and what users are looking for. As changes in local search continue, how can you implement a search engine optimization strategy to best position your business in 2015 and beyond?

Have a Consistent Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)

You will want to avoid sending any kind of mixed signal to Google. Be sure your name, address and phone number are consistent throughout the web. This includes directories, social accounts and even your web pages. Tools like Moz Local make it a bit easier to be sure your NAP is consistent.

Optimize Your “Google My Business” Listing

Make sure your business location is entered correctly on the map so it is easy as possible for users to find you. You can even drag the map marker to your exact business location to make the process even easier. Additionally, fully complete your Google My Business profile with pictures, hours, payment types, website URL, etc.. Lastly, most people will ask someone they trust about a product or service before making a purchase. With Google My Business, be sure to encourage customers to review your business by clicking “write a review” on the local Google+ page.

Build your backlink portfolio

For this tip, view backlinks as “votes”. The more “votes” (backlinks) you have pointing to your web page, the higher authority Google will give it. The more authority Google gives your business, the higher you can rank in the search engine results. To gain these backlinks, you can join local resource lists or directories or even publish a piece for your local business journals website.

Conclusion

The Pigeon update marked significant changes to local search for 2014 and into this year. No longer will citations along with great H1 and title tags suffice. This was only the latest significant update brought on by Google and you can expect many more to come. Take a look and see if your business was one of many that were affected and take the correct steps to regain your ranking.

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