Local SEO (search engine optimization) is the buzzword of 2015 as Google continues to hone their search results to meet the demands of on-the-go mobile users. Plus, their local search algorithm, Pigeon, has been active for 6 months now, allowing us to better understand what they’re looking for in a local business. We’ve gathered a review of what happened with local SEO in 2014, the key information you need to know about the Pigeon Algorithm, and tips for how you can optimize your site for local, in order to help you started.
A Review of Local in 2014
For the past seven years, David Mihm, the Director of Local Search Strategy at Moz, has conducted a survey to determine the year’s local search ranking factors. Mihm found that in 2014, behavioral signals, such as Click through Rates (CTR) from search results, increased in importance. So, it isn’t just enough to show up in search results, Google wants to see that people are actually clicking on your link. Another growing factor is the Moz Domain Authority – a logarithmic estimate of how well a domain will perform in search. This is determined from a number of factors including inbound links and the distance between your site and larger, more trusted sites.
An important factor that saw a huge spike in 2014, according to Mihm, is the proximity to the searcher. In other words, Google is using geolocation data to determine where the searcher is and turn up local results that are closer to their location. Finally, it is clear from the survey results that both inbound links and on-site factors, like keywords and page titles, are still very important for local SEO.
The Pigeon Algorithm Update
One major change to the local SEO scene in 2014 was Google’s Pigeon algorithm update. Launched July 24, this update was designed to provide more relevant and accurate local search results. This algorithm affects results in both Google Maps and Google Web search and is the biggest local search update that Google has ever released.
How to Optimize Your Site for Local Search
If you are a local business and you’re wondering how you can optimize your website for local search in 2015, we have a few tips for you. But first and foremost, you should conduct an SEO audit of your website to determine where it stands and what needs updated.
Once you’ve conducted an audit, take these tips into account:
- Add your City and/or State to your Website
If you truly are a local business, consider adding your city/state to the end of your page titles. In addition, include your location in content and H1 tags (headers) when relevant and include your city/state in your image alt tags.
- Clean Up Your Listing on the Most Popular Directories
SEO experts also found that Google is taking into account your local listing on various well-known directories. As such, you should make sure that your site has been submitted to some of the more popular directories, like Yelp and DMOZ, and that it is optimized and up to date.
- Optimize Your Google My Business Page
First of all, do you have a local Google+ page? Have you claimed it? If not, make sure you do these two steps. Once you have control of your local Google+ page, or Google My Business, you will want to make sure it has all of your correct business information, all of your locations accurately listed, and links to your website.
We hope these local SEO tips helped bring you up to date on what’s happening with local search in 2015. If you need assistance with local SEO, contact Informatics today!