Why You Need to Include Local Signals in Your Organic SEO Campaign
Google’s Place Search and Venice updates of a few years ago were designed to provide users with a more universal, one-stop search experience by blending local and organic search results. That effort continues today with another local algorithm update that has just started to roll out.
According to Google, the as-yet-unnamed new algorithm will provide a more useful, relevant and accurate local search experience that is closely tied to traditional search ranking signals, as well as to such popular search features as Knowledge Graph and spelling correction. The new algorithm includes enhanced distance and location ranking capabilities.
How These Changes Will Affect Your Organic SEO Efforts
In short, if your company has a local presence, your organic SEO campaign should be expanded to include local signals in order to take full advantage of the new search marketing landscape. Results of the new algorithm have varied across different niches and keywords, and in many cases listing are still “dancing” up and down in the rankings as the update matures and gets properly tuned in.
- Duplicate listings in local and organic search seem to have fallen away in favor of one blended listing.
- Some websites without local optimization have seen their organic listing pushed down in the results.
- Some websites with a strong organic presence as well as local signals have seen an improvement in their ranking position.
- Some local 7-pack results have vanished altogether while others have been reduced to just a few listings.
How to Capitalize on the New Local Search Algorithm
Just as Google has blended local with organic results, your SEO campaign should include a blend of local as well as traditional organic signals and strategies.
Google Plus Local is a great place to start if you have a physical presence in a given geographic area, or if you service outlying areas from one central location.
- You can register a new Google Plus Local account by visiting google.com/business and clicking the “Get on Google” button. Google My Business is a brand-new platform that allows you to manage all of your Google accounts and profiles from one convenient dashboard.
- While you can’t run your business from a post office box, Google recognizes the fact that many service professionals work from a home office and will allow you to set up a local profile with your home address hidden, as will many of the citation directories that you’ll need for local search optimization.
- Businesses with multiple locations should have a separate Google Plus Local page for each location.
Your main business website will probably need to be tweaked to accommodate the necessary local search signals.
- If you offer multiple products in multiple locations, don’t confuse Google by trying to cram everything onto a single page. Create separate pages for each product category for each of your locations, and be sure to use appropriate local keywords. You can avoid duplicate content issues by creating unique content for each location page.
- Add location-specific citations and authority links whenever possible.
Increase the volume of other pertinent local search signals such as
- Positive reviews about your business. Be sure to claim your business listing on as many of the important review and directory sites as possible.
- Maintaining an ongoing and consistent social media presence.