Any talk of a new Google algorithm sets the SEO world alight; last month was no exception with the news of a new algorithm affecting local search listings. Although not officially announced by Google this update has been referred to as the ‘Pigeon’ algorithm by the SEO industry. The ‘Pigeon’ algorithm gives prominence to local businesses in search results – a massive bonus for smaller businesses trying to beat global competition. It turns out that (as of writing) this has yet to be introduced for UK search results and is currently only launched for people in the US using their Google browsers in US English. However it is hotly anticipated to be rolled out globally - so there is no time to wait before getting on board with local SEO for your business!
Have you ever noticed how when you Google a service or business your results page is full of businesses in your local town or county even without specifying this in your query? This is the influence of Google algorithms. Google provides you with local search results if it feels there may be local intent in the search query and thinks you would want to find a business nearby, eg restaurants, dentists, shops, etc. Google displaying local, small businesses in their search results is not a new concept. Google’s ‘Venice’ algorithm rolled out early 2012 aims to return relevant and personalised results to the user (for more information about this algorithm and the other Google algorithms read our handy guide here).
Any business operating in a physical location who also wants to build a presence online can benefit from local SEO. Small business or global these tips below will improve the user experience for your visitors, improve your search rankings and increase your website traffic.
Claiming your Google My Business listing will significantly increase your visibility in SERP’s. Completing your Google+ page and regularly posting interesting blogs or news will engage with your customers or potential customers.
Your address should be accurately featured throughout your website – often the address is positioned in the footer of a website so it is displayed on every page.
A time-consuming task for Search Engine Optimisers is building citations and links from local directories, companies or news sources to boost the credibility and authority of businesses. Ensuring the profiles on directories are updated and correct also improves the online presence of a business.
Google reviews and reviews on sites such as Yelp are increasingly important since they can now appear in SERPs, as well as underneath your PPC ads (read more about PPC advertising here). A business with a number of positive reviews signals a credible, reliable and high-quality service.
Social media is important for local SEO and as with citations ensures that your address is accurate in all bios and descriptions. Similar to when you search on Google the introduction of Facebook Graph Search also displays users with businesses nearby.
Our SEO Agency is experienced in improving online visibility for businesses of all sizes. If you have a business then you can certainly benefit from SEO – whether you are targeting a local or global market. Get in touch with our SEO team for a free SEO audit of your website today!
By Kath Goward 22 August 2014