Why Local SEO Matters More Than Ever
Over the last several years, Google has pushed out some notable updates focusing on everything from content quality to link spam, mobile-friendliness, and location. The named updates make massive changes to the basic underlying algorithm, and web designers in Somerset and beyond found themselves scrambling to keep up with the latest changes.
The most interesting of the recent updates was probably Google Pigeon, which combines traditional ranking signals with authority signals and local links to provide more area-focused search results.
Local Users, Local Search
Local listings such as TripAdvisor and Yelp are now more important than ever before. In the USA, Google offers a ‘local listing pack’ and a ‘local carousel’ for certain kinds of searches, and it is rolling out that feature to other parts of the world too. If you have a B&B or a restaurant, then offering photos, ‘Look Inside’ views, phone numbers and maps is a must.
Thanks to this update, someone who is living in Somerset is more likely to see a result for http://www.somersetwebservices.co.uk/ than someone who lives in Glasgow. It’s a small change, but an important one for improving convenience for the average user.
The end result of Pigeon was a benefit for small businesses and local review sites; this is something that Google will undoubtedly have been aiming for. Ranking internationally is incredibly difficult for anyone who does not have a lot of money to spend, but most businesses don’t need – or want – traffic from further afield.
But Pigeon is just the beginning. More recent mobile-focused updates have continued to emphasize local search features. Today, listings with menus, maps, contact details and other ‘quality of life’ additions for local users are given prominence over more basic listings.
A good mobile-friendly website that is optimised for the search engines will really help to improve your local business footfall. Many local business owners are stuck in an era where the web and the ‘real world’ are two separate things, but that is no longer the case. Think about your own user habits – you probably use the web to find restaurants, locate a plumber or emergency locksmith or find inspiration for a gift. Your customers do the same thing, and if they see your competitor’s website and not yours, that’s who they will shop with.