All posts in Search Engine Marketing News

What Does Pigeon Mean For Your Local Business?

Over two weeks ago, Google released a local algorithm update that industry experts are calling Pigeon. Pigeon aims at improving local search results for users by making the results more relevant and accurate. The new Pigeon update has features including spelling correction capabilities, Google’s knowledge graph, and detecting search synonyms. As a result of the update, Google is placing local directories higher in the search results than small businesses. While this is benefiting the big players of local directories like Yelp and TripAdvisor, it is hurting small businesses rankings that do not carry the same amount of SEO strength. In some cases, the entire first page is filled with local directories, for terms like “Chicago pizza” or “Miami hotels.” In a few search queries, small business sites do not show up in the results until as far as the third page.

Google’s main goal for the algorithm update is to improve the local search experience for users, and to make results appear more organic than they have in the past. To do this, Google has nearly eliminated the presence of local seven packs for many search results. The decrease has hurt many small businesses that only ranked in the local pack and are no longer being featured on the first page of the search results.

So what can you do to continue getting business even when your site isn’t ranking? First, you can consider running a PPC campaign to boost your chances of being seen on the search results page. Since Pigeon seems to favor local directories, make sure your business is listed correctly on the leading local directories, as well as directories specific to your niche. Although Google seems to no longer include local packs on SERPs, they are still using the local carousel that appears at the top of the results page for some search queries. To utilize the carousel, make sure your business has high quality Google+ photos, and encourage customers to review your business.

Google+ pages will also play a large role when ranking in local search results. When creating your Google+ page make sure your business is listed in the most appropriate categories to enhance the chances of appearing in the search results when that category is searched. It has been noted that having the same area code in your business telephone number that is associated with your business location can improve your rankings. Also having several reviews of your business can influence your local search rankings, so encourage customers to leave reviews whenever possible.

Overall, the update is trying to enhance local results for users. Google wants to make sure only the best and most relevant pages are being shown, and that the results appear as organic as possible (hence the drastic decline in the frequency of local packs), so the best way to boost your business is to make it exceptional! White hat SEO tactics are still being rewarded by Google, so make sure your website is optimized for your industry and location. Add geo modifiers to title tags, include keywords in your business title, and implement other SEO best practices.

How is your business adjusting to Google’s newest update? Reach out to our SEO team with your stories and your questions.

Link Earning in 2014

Earning links to help your website rise in the search engine rankings now involves different strategies than it did in previous years. Transparent link building plans have fallen out of fashion as Google’s backlink guidelines have evolved and become more defined. Rather than simply buying or exchanging links as part of an SEO campaign, companies need to create content that organically encourage other sites with good Page Rank to link to their webpage. While brazen SEO link building tactics are no longer helpful, there are still plenty of good ideas to consider for an effective optimization plan.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas to help build links from a recently updated Backlinko post.


Audio Sharing Sites

These sites readily accept audio files, whether it’s music or a spoken word piece. Create a great piece of audio content and the benefit is twofold:
1.      You’ll get a follow link to your webpage on the audio sharing site.
2.      You can get listeners to enjoy and share your piece, which may inspire further people to link to your website.

There are a lot of free audio sharing sites, so you can use this idea even if you have a limited SEO budget.

Scoop It
Scoop It allows users to personally curate web content onto their own Scoop It page.
You can suggest content for someone to post by using the “Suggest” feature. If they like your content, they’ll post it and you’ll be linked in the post.
You may need to sign up for a paid Scoop It account to employ this technique.

Website Feedback Sites
Website feedback sites (like Concept Feedbackor Criticue) are another way to get a link. Submit your website to be critiqued and it yields a follow link. Many of these sites involve a fee as you are given valuable feedback on your website by their staff.

Blog Aggregators
Submit your site to be included on a blog aggregator like Technorati or Alltop and if it’s approved you’ll have a follow link to your site.

.Edu Sites
A lot of universities have resource pages for their students. If your company could be useful to university students or faculty, reach out to the webmaster to see if you can be added to the list of resources.

News Sites
You might be able to get a great link from an authority news site by working with HARO. HARO (Help a Reporter Out) connects reporters with relevant sources, and if you’re able to provide useful information to a reporter, you and your website could be linked in an article.
There are both free and paid options when signing up to be a HARO source.

Sponsorship / Charitable Contribution
If you have a little more money for your SEO campaign, consider earning a link through a sponsorship or charitable contribution. Do you sponsor a local business, team or organization? They probably list their sponsors and contributors online, perhaps with a dedicated page that includes a helpful link.

These methods of earning backlinks from high ranking authority pages are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more ways to earn links if you get creative and try new ideas. Beyond that, you can also consult an SEO agency such as Evolving Interactive for more help strengthening your site’s signals.

You know what will be the biggest SEO trend in 2014?

Integrity.

At this point, it’s unavoidable. If you want your site to rank well, you’ll need integrity.

Recent changes to Google’s algorithm like Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird have put a premium on providing useful content to users in honest ways. You can no longer sneak a useless site to the top of the SERPs with keyword stuffing and link schemes. Gone are the days of black-hat SEO, and it’s about time.

Remember how obnoxious it was to see a site rank higher than yours because someone used black-hat techniques? Ever get annoyed when someone disparaged the SEO industry as a whole because of a few bad apples? Thanks to the recent algorithm changes, there are new restrictions to prevent shady tactics.

Some view the restrictions negatively. The many changes have made some of the easy (black-hat) techniques not only ineffectual but damaging to SERP rankings. But there’s a positive way to look at it. With shady tactics now proving harmful to search rankings, there is no reason to spend your time and energy employing them. And having that extra time and energy is good, because ranking higher in SERPs now requires more work and thoughtfulness than ever before.

As search engines get better at delivering what customers want, websites will have to get better at providing the valuable content that gets delivered. This means you can’t get away with keyword stuffing or link schemes to artificially boost your site’s rankings. Now that cheap tricks won’t help rankings, the true cream will rise to the top. And if you want to be at the top, you need to provide valuable content that customers want. It’s that simple.

There are no more tricks, and for that we should be grateful. With such frivolous distractions eliminated by Google’s updates, we can now focus on the hard work of providing quality content to our customers.

Having reflected on and reacted to the major industry updates of the past years, let’s look forward to 2014: when hard work and integrity will yield superior results.

Another shake-up in the SEO world. Google recently released a new search engine algorithm called Hummingbird. This update has affected 90% of searches and focuses on conversational queries rather than keyword based queries. Hummingbird indexes websites based on how thoroughly they answer the searcher’s intent. Because of technologies like Siri and voice command, conversational search has become much more commonplace. For example, searches like “Mona Lisa location

Social media has become an important part of pretty much all businesses, including traditional brick and mortar businesses and online businesses. However, social media has become increasingly important for people that work in SEO, since social media is being used differently by many companies to find their target audience.

Individuals that work in SEO have also seen major changes that have likely affected the way that they work, giving them even more incentive to utilize social media as an outlet for creating and getting work.

Google Algorithm Updates

Google Panda and subsequent updates have had a major impact on people that work in SEO. Recent changes to Google Penguin and Panda have been put in place to penalize companies and individuals that produce fast, low-quality content just to fit in keywords that are popular in searches and on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Many major sites labeled as content mills – sites that employed writers to write on a variety of topics based on a particular keyword – were penalized the most. However, these algorithm updates also affected bloggers and people that make their living doing SEO work for private companies.

Local SEO

Local SEO has become more and more important since Google changed its algorithm, and it has become very popular with many businesses because it allows them to find only clients or customers in their area that fit their criteria. That means more focused marketing, which can result in more business at a reduced cost for many businesses. Many businesses use SEO writers to create local content for their Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages to help them attract clients.

While writing for social media isn’t that much different than writing for a blog, understanding what works best on sites like Facebook and Twitter – which has a letter counter restriction – can help you do your best work.

Social Media Affects Ranking

After Google algorithm changes, social media rankings have become more and more important to businesses and writers that use SEO to drive traffic to their blog or website. This is because Google put more importance on organic links and mentions of a certain keyword or brand than on many other websites. The more people are talking about your product or business on social media sites like Google+ and Facebook, the higher your ranking will be. That’s why writing for social media sites has become so popular among SEO content producers.

Social media numbers should also be viewed in conjunction with more traditional page rankings and backlinks.

Apps Are Your Friend

Apps designed to help you create quality posts for social media sites like HootSuite also allow you to monitor how your post is doing and how many people are looking at and sharing your information.

HootSuite also allows you to publish your content across various networks in a safe, secure manner that is very user friendly for most SEO content creators.

Another app that’s popular among SEO content producers is BufferApp, which allows you to create posts in advance and share them on social media sites throughout the day. BufferApp also works with your email provider so that you can share updates through your e-mail system if you’re on the go. While there are certain restrictions with BufferApp about how many posts you can create in advance, most people won’t ever reach the limit, making it a very efficient tool.

Pingraphy works sort of like BufferApp, but it’s designed for both business and personal users of Pinterest. Pingraphy allows you to disperse your pins throughout the day so that you don’t bombard your followers all at once. Using Pingraphy also allows you to post during peak hours when you know your followers will be ready to look at the items that you’re posting.

If you’re doing SEO content work on social media sites, these useful apps can make it much easier to share what you want to share, when you want to share it. They can also help you to reach more of your target audience by allowing you to create more content. Using apps also means that you don’t have to sit at your desk all day updating Twitter and Facebook.

Today’s Guest Blog Post courtesy of Marcela De Vivo:

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area, specializing in articles about the best blog content, SEO, and moving blogs to WordPress.

 

12345Next