When Google made changes to their local ranking algorithm last July, the update was supposed to make local search more closely mimic traditional organic web search rankings. According to Google, the new algorithm improved their distance and location ranking parameters and would provide a better user experience. The actual results have been a bit uneven, however, creating some definite winners and losers in several business categories. Certain local business categories experienced “hyperlocalization,” with their 7-Pack SERPs (search engine results pages) becoming much more tightly focused as results clustered in a far smaller geographical area than before, sometimes narrowing to 3-Packs. In other business categories, the 7-Pack has disappeared entirely as large national directories now push out smaller local businesses, taking over all the top local listings. While there have been several tweaks to the Pigeon update since it first debuted, a general outline indicating how the Pigeon update affects local search marketing has emerged.
Local real estate businesses were particularly hard-hit by the Pigeon update. Smaller, genuinely local agencies were virtually eradicated from search results; in many areas, the local 7-Pack has disappeared and there are no map results. Instead, large national directories now dominate the results with local agencies not even appearing on the first page of results. Restaurant listings are another category where local businesses are absent in many area searches; instead of 7-pack SERPs highlighting area eateries, large national review sites such as tripadvisor, urbanspoon, and yelp hold the entire crucial first page of local results.
Now that we have seen how the Pigeon update affects local search marketing results, what strategies can my business adopt to improve our local rankings?
- Claim Your Business
It is crucial that Google knows exactly where your business is located! Claim your Google Local listing and Google + Local listing, making certain all fields are completely filled out, all data is 100% accurate, and that the Google map pin is accurately placed. Make absolutely certain that your business name, physical location, and contact information is completely accurate and consistent across all platforms.
- Place Your Business in Local Directories
Since local directories, review sites, and other aggregated sites are benefitting from the Pigeon update and grabbing the top listings I local searches, it is essential that your business is placed in all relevant directories. Claim and optimize your business’ listings, especially for directories that are powered by Google Maps.
- Launch a Well-Optimized Website
An eponymous website, with carefully applied local SEO techniques that focus on specific local neighborhoods is an essential part of establishing your company’s presence in local searches.
- Focus on Local Neighborhoods
Make hyperlocalization work for your business by narrowing your website’s focus from a citywide approach to zero in on local neighborhoods.
- Establish Relevant Backlinks and Citations
Google recently disclosed that the Pigeon algorithm places an increased importance on web ranking signals such as relevant, high quality backlinks, citations from well-established local portals (mentions of your business name and address on other webpages), and Google Local listing ties. Take advantage of all opportunities to strengthen your business profile and establish your website domain authority.
While the Pigeon update will continue to evolve, applying these local search engine marketing strategies should help your business achieve the highest ranking possible on local searches.
For additional local SEO tips, link building strategies, and information on how the latest Google updates will affect your business, you can always call on the SEO marketing experts at Blue Interactive Agency. We can create a dynamic website design for your business, with correctly applied local search engine optimization strategies that will establish a strong online presence and raise your business’ profile to achieve the highest possible ranking in local searches.
Contact Blue Interactive Agency today at 954-779-2801 for local SEO tips and information on how to apply the latest local search engine marketing techniques to help your business grow!