Google Algorithm Update and Changes Affecting Local Search
Google is undoubtedly the King of the Internet and any time they make a change, it in one way or another impacts SEO. Within the past two months, Google has released a few changes that affect local search. In June 2014, Google rolled out a new feature called My Business, replacing Google+ for Business. More recently, Google released a new algorithm update that is actually boosting local search. Here is how both updates impact SEO – especially for local search.
Algorithm Update for Local Search
Google released an algorithm update specifically focused on local search. Search Engine Land is nicknaming this update “Pigeon,” although no official name has been given to this update from Google at this time. According to an article they posted, Search Engine Land spoke with Google about the changes.
“Google told us that the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more. In addition, Google said that this new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters.”
These changes are slowly showing a boost in local search results. In addition to updating how Google searches for local businesses, they have also improved how Yelp shows up in results. Previously when users typed in “Business Name + Yelp” they would have to scroll down the page a few listings to find the Yelp page for that business. Now, the Yelp page will rank at the number 1 spot if searching for “Business Name Yelp.”
Search Engine Land also mentions in a related article that local business listings are also experiencing a boost in SEO from other review sites and business directories.
Changes “Google+ for Business” to “My Business”
Back in June, Google introduced “My Business.” This feature essentially replaces “Google+ Local for Business” which in itself was an update on “Google Places.” The new My Business offers a streamlined user interface, which makes it easier for businesses to get found on Google. Through the My Business portal, businesses can claim their business listing, or set up a new listing with improved profile options. Additionally My Business combines insights and ranking information as well as reviews so business owners and SEO specialists only have to log into one portal to manage their local search on Google.
For businesses that already set up business listings either through Google+ Local or Google Places, the new My Business portal syncs up with the already existing profiles to easily manage the business listing in Google Maps and for local search.
What Does This Mean?
Update your listings! Log-in to My Business and make sure your Google listing has the most up to date information including address, business hours, and contact information – including your website and social profiles. Update the listing with any images you have (interior and exterior shots of your business/company are a good idea) and make sure you include your logo in the listing as well. Don’t just stop with Google. Make sure any review or directory listings such as Yelp are also up to date.
It seems (we hope) like this new update will help boost local search rankings, especially if your business has an optimized Google listing and profiles on other review or directory sites.
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