The Google Pigeon is influencing a shift towards more traditional SEO ranking factors for local searches.
2014 is almost over, meaning that for the majority of businesses and SEOs, it’s time to start thinking about how they can improve their marketing strategies next year. With a new year brings new internet marketing trends and seeing as Google has just updated it’s local SEO algorithm (Pigeon) we thought we’d take a look at how you should approach local SEO moving into 2015.
How will local SEO change in 2015?
According to all of the latest reports, Google is shifting towards using more traditional web ranking factors to rank websites for local searches. Previously it was Google Places and citations that were weighted heavily as local SEO ranking factors, but now on-site signals and links are thought to be the most powerful.
One of the reasons behind this shift towards more traditional ranking factors in local SEO is thought to be due to Google’s latest algorithm update. Whilst most businesses and local SEOs are claiming Google Pigeon didn’t affect them, it is more likely that they were already using traditional SEO techniques from Driven Web Services to improve their sites’ local search rankings and therefore had more authority in the first place.
In 2015 you should work towards improving your website’s user experience so it stands out from the crowd.
Building a great user experience
In terms of boosting your local search rankings in 2015, it’s more important to think about impressing your website visitors than making changes to your website in hope that Google will like it. Keep in mind that everything you do (both on and off site) should be with the aim of improving your website’s user experience. It’s not about fooling Google or over-optimising your website for search engines but simply trying to build the best user experience possible.
So how can you go about building a great user experience and in turn improve your local search rankings? The first thing you can do is to make sure that you’re not making any silly mistakes that could be costing your website it’s rankings. We’ve outlined a few common mistakes below.
Lacking content on homepage
Many local businesses fail to create enough content for their website homepages, resulting in a poor user experience and in turn poor local search rankings. Your homepage needs to tell both customers and search engines who you are and what your business does. If your website’s homepage lacks content, you need to create some for it as soon as possible.
Not having much content on any of your pages
It’s not just a lack of content on your homepage that can negatively impact your ability to rank well in local searches. If you do not have much content on any of your webpages, it will effect users’ experience and in turn your SEO. Provide customers with the content they need to convert and you will stand a good chance at improving your rankings in local searches.
Over optimising (spamming) keywords
No one likes a spammer so stop relying on this out dated technique to boost your local search rankings. Rather than listing hundreds of city names in your content, in hope that it will improve your local search rankings (it won’t), populate your website with relevant, interesting and informative content instead.
Improve your website’s on-site signals for local SEO
In 2015, on-site signals will carry more weight than ever before in terms of local search rankings factors. It’s no good listing your business on Google Places and creating loads of citations if your website doesn’t have on-site signals too.
In order to optimise your website for local SEO, you need to make sure you are including your city / state in your title tag, H1 headings, the body of your content, your URLs and your image alt tags.
Although we have provided specific ways you can update your website and improve its local search rankings in 2015, the main approach you should be taking is trying to create a better overall user experience. Stop thinking about how to make your business website rank in local searches and start thinking about what you need to do to make in the very best website for your customers.