Google Pigeon has been deployed in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Pigeon affects changes in search engine algorithms and impacts search engine optimization. Many businesses are already familiar with a host of tactics and methods used to achieve top rankings with Google. But now that Pigeon is here, not all of these tactics are going to continue to work. The next big thing in SEO is localization optimization.
While new tactics are being developed and created, they will not be effective if you do not take the time to re-examine the foundations of your website, pages, and content to ensure it is in proper order. Many companies overlook the basic foundations, so no matter how many of the best business practice tactics they deploy, they are still going to fall short.
- Do Not Assume You Know What People Want: Some businesses get hung up on this point and make assumptions about the content needed on their website. For instance, car dealers often assume the only information people want to see are pictures and window stickers of the cars sitting in their lots. However, this is not an accurate assessment. People shopping for cars want more, like being educated about the pros and cons of leasing and financing or learning why regular maintenance is important. Avoid falling into the assumption trap. Your site needs to provide positive experiences by offering more.
- Avoid Focusing Too Much on Your Brand: A large number of businesses spend far too much time focusing entirely on their brand. In most cases, your company is the only one selling the brand name in your market segment. Your online presence needs to be more than just your brand.
- Avoid Focusing Entirely on Your Products and/or Services: Your website is an excellent resource to use to help sell your products and/or services. However, this does not mean you are limited to just selling goods and services. Your competition is also selling online. You need to distinguish your business from theirs and make it stand out. This can be accomplished by taking the time to share information about your local community, your business, and other interesting topics your customers will want to read.
- Do Not Overlook Local Offsite Optimization: Take the time to confirm and verify your business citations (NAP data) are consistent and accurate on all offsite locations. Being accurate helps generate relevant backlinks from other local sites.
- Do Not Forget to Incorporate Localization Optimization Onsite: One mistake businesses make is not focusing enough on localization optimization and placing a higher concentration on traditional SEO strategies. Both methods have to be carefully balanced and incorporated into your website. Search engine algorithms derive the largest amount of localization SEO data directly from your website.
- Avoid Spamming Keywords and Cities: One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is just listing a series of local cities and areas they service and separating these with commas or spamming keywords. This is not effective local and/or traditional SEO optimization.
- Avoid Spamming Title and Page Tags: Far too often businesses write out long title and page tags while spamming keyword after keyword. First, Google and other search engines truncate the tags if they are over 70 characters in length. Next, most search engines rewrite long spammed title and page tags to meet their requirements. Keep title and page tags, short, direct, and to the point using one or two different keywords to sum of the content.
- Update NAP Data If It Changes: NAP (name, address, and phone) data is the building block of local SEO strategies and is your business’ online citations. If you move, change phone numbers, or the business name, take the time to update it with Google and the other major search engines, as well as local sites, like Yelp or Yellowpages.com, which displays this information. Yes, it can be tedious and tireless work updating NAP data, but if you do not do it, your citations will be inconsistent and your website suffers in the rankings.
- Do Not Overlook the Importance of Your Home Page: Stuffing slideshows and links to other site pages does not give search engines anything to index and rank. The home page is your platform to introduce your business to potential customers. The content should give a brief introduction about your business and a general overview of your products and/or services and why people need your products and/or services. Putting this type of content on the home page gives search engines content to index and rank.
- Avoid Empty Internal Pages: People, who find your website through a search engine, want to learn more about your business and the products and/or services you offer. One typical mistake businesses make is to have a link from the home page to specific internal product or service pages, but have empty content on that page. Simply putting what you sell and where you sell it with a phone number for people to call is not going to cut it. This type of content does not provide any relevant information for site visitors, let alone is not going to be ranked with the search engines. In fact, most people are simply going to return to the search engine and look for a competitor, who took the time to supply full details about their business, products, and/or services. Use internal pages to educate people about your products and services.
Before you tackle developing your local search engine optimization and change tactics, take the time to verify your website, pages, and content deliver friendly user experiences and provide a strong foundation.