Just as you get into an SEO groove, Google updates its algorithms and makes a mess of all your hard graft. Pigeon could not have been more aptly named!
A couple of years ago, Google pushed us to update exact locations and stick a virtual pin in their map. Then they wanted us to verify the address. They want us to take photos for street views and optimise pages with city names.
After doing all this we were in a fixed mindset and because optimising for local search produced pretty quick results, it is easy to adopt the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” attitude.
But Google broke it and now you have to fix it, or refix it, as the case may be.
Target neighbourhoods rather than cities
Pigeon diced the city map into neighbourhoods, which makes a lot of sense for large cities. You have to wonder why the search engine giant didn’t think of that in the first place. But you have to think big, before you think small.
Since Google reduced the search radius, businesses have shifted neighbourhoods, in the digital sense of course. If your business is receiving less local attraction, check you are marketing in the right geographical boundary.
To do this, target your street and neighbourhood for local search rather than just your city. Is your place of business in a specific area of the city such as the “museum district” or “downtown.” Be more creative with your keywords.
Choose directories carefully
Many Moons ago it was the case where you could throw yourself into an online directory and were automatically given more visibility in search engines. That was before Google trashed most of the low quality directories.
Things actually got so bad at one point, marketers were not sure whether registering your business with directories was harmful to your SEO. The truth is that directories are highly important to ranking in local search, but only if you register with the top-ranking directories.
Content curation and linking
To increase visibility through local search channels, you need to spread your content far and wide. Your content should also include your chosen keywords for local optimisation.
You probably already know by now that search engines are looking to partner websites that publish quality content. Target a local audience and look for local links by connecting with local publishers.
You’re probably fed-up of having mobile responsive advice railroaded down your throat, but it is a key factor. So much so, the last Google algorithm is targeting non-mobile-friendly websites to dump them further down the rankings.
But to fair, it is for you own good. When mobile searcher visit a website that does not fit their screen and causes them to use scroll bars to navigate your site, they leave anyway. At least with Google dumping you down the rankings, you have a visual incentive to be mobile-friendly.
For many businesses, local SEO is the way to go, so knowing how to optimise your indicators for Pigeon will help you fly higher than your competitors.