The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) thought leaders are talking about one of the more recent Google local algorithm updates that’s been labeled “Pigeon.”
Most guess that the release happened around July 24 but like most updates, Google is keeping pretty mum about what the algorithm update entails. What the experts are noticing though is that the search radius has been reduced for local queries and that search results are reordered, meaning your local listing may have gone up in the search ranking or down depending on how this update affected your listing.
Google emphasizes this update is similar to its other updates with the goal to provide more relevant and accurate results when users are typing in local search queries. The experts also highlight that there seems to be a reduction in duplicate listings.
BrightEdge notes that the hospitality industry fared well in this update with an increase of 28 percent for queries showing up in the local pack results. A local pack is that three to seven local listings Google displays when you do a search query.
So what can you do? It seems the majority of industry professionals cautions against dramatically reworking your local SEO strategy and basically to ride out the fluctuations this update brings to local search. Moz asked the top local SEOs about their advice for this update and a general consensus is that Google wants SEO to go back to basics: get quality and local links, provide relevant and valuable content, and make your site SEO-friendly and easy to crawl. Basically, well optimized sites and local listings will win once the “bird” has landed.
What we’re doing here is making sure our local listings and those of our clients are optimized, including Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and more. We’re really focusing on the NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) and making sure it matches across all local directories.
Another way to improve your local listing results, especially within Google’s realm, is to sign up for Business View for your hotel. See an example of the 360 degree photo tour of our client, Inn San Francisco. Having engaging photos on your local listings is important and this service truly allows online visitors to virtually tour your hotel in a more dynamic format. All you have to do is click the “Get Started” button and Google will contact you within a week about the service.
Once you’ve updated your listing with new photos and double checked your contact information for accuracy, it’s time to be proactive and reach out to your guests to improve your local exposure. How? Just remember to encourage them to write an online review of your property! The rating, frequency, and volume of reviews will play a role in your local optimization efforts.
What tips would you add for optimizing your local listings?
(Photo credit: Google Business View)