Local SEO is expected to become more complex in 2015. Now is the time to sit back and take a good look at the big picture and stop using a magnifying glass in local search. Don’t fall into the common “era of ways” by zeroing in on one new tactic and dropping the old.
- Local SEO is not citations only
- Local SEO is not just “Google My business (Places) optimization
- Local SEO is not just placing city and state in title tags and H1 headings
- Local SEO success is not obtained by using just one tactic
When you use a magnifying glass to focus on just one tactic, the whole picture becomes skewed. There are other important factors that you will miss out on when you zoom in on just one. Trash the magnifying glass, take a deep breath, and take a step back to view the big picture of Local SEO in its entirety. Your 2015 success depends upon it! Just as you would a puzzle, spread all the pieces out and figure out how they all fit together.
There have been several important Local Search updates that were intended to provide a clear view of the Big Picture of SEO:
- The Moz Local Search Ranking Factors study displays a simple pie chart of signal groups by weight in the algorithm. Compare the factors in the chart to your current workflow and task list. If your lists do not come close to matching the weighted areas of the pie chart, it may be time to reconsider and rearrange your priorities.
- Google Pigeon drastically changed the way local results are calculated. This caused a bit of a ruckus for local business owners and local SEOs across the country, and is now causing chaos internationally! The idea that Pigeon was just a temporary test by Google is now a myth – Pigeon is here to stay.
- Google has dropped the Local Carousel for many business types. They are currently displaying an expanded 3-pack, and the carousel is now a memory from the past.
- The new 3-Pack has been expanded. It still displays thumbnail photos, just as the carousel did, however, the 3-Pack only shows business names, review stars and a very brief description. If you click on a listing, you are taken to another SERP for that specific business, instead of the business’ website or Google My Business page.
- Oh and the Google updates don’t stop there…. Another critical update was made to Google My Business Guidelines. They are: 1) cracking down on category selections, 2) removing the option to add a description to business names and 3) strictly disallowing virtual offices.
The reality of the big picture is that Google is placing a significant effort into local search. Whether you are a Pigeon fan or not, it is part of the game now and you must join in to win.
With Pigeon and the new 3-Pack, it is abundantly clear that Google placing emphasis on how mobile behavior will impact local search. As mobile device search increases, local results will become unique based on where the user is located at time of search. And trust us when we say, Google does know exactly where each mobile user is located. You must have the correct relevancy signals both on your site and off if you want to be competitive in 2015. Stop focusing on one or two tactics… start working every piece and get the puzzle together.
- Create amazing and informative content and optimize it with local signals
- Make sure your location pages are unique and well-written
- Create local blog content
- Optimize your Google My Business listing, and then optimize again, and again
- Get some good links on your site
- Clean up citations, and obtain the ones you may be missing
- Positive reviews on your GMB listing and other third party sites are a must
- Interact with your customers/clients with Social Networking
You must be a jack of all trades in Local SEO to be successful in 2015. Old tactics of banging out citations, or just putting your city and state in a few title tags and H2 headings will not cut it anymore. And you can’t just spam a few Google Places categories either. You have to sit back, and take a long hard look at the big picture and do it all to succeed.
Search Engine Land