Local SEO has transformed through the years, and mastery of it in 2015 requires really intelligent techniques, particularly with Googleâ€™s recent Pigeon launch. That may perhaps require unlearning some stuff.
Visibility, Not Just Rankings
Rather than being obsessed with rankings, get obsessed with visibility. Arenâ€™t both the same? Well, not exactly.
Letâ€™s imagine your business is up there in the local listings and your website is just beneath the fold. Your competitors could however be ranking higher in image searches. They may be using AdWords for securing space above the fold through reviews, social integrations, and extensions. So while they may be ranking lower than your local search listings, they end up being more visible, get more visitors and as a result achieve more conversions while earning greater trust. So while rankings have come your way, conversions have gone theirs. Thatâ€™s because theyâ€™ve made themselves more visible though you have ranked better in local search. Thanks to their visibility, they have controlled search space better.
Citations and Reviews
Citations can still affect SERP performance. Though it is possible to get them gamed, they remain trustworthy indicators of your business location. There are tools that can push details of your business to the relevant citation sources and ensure your business is presented in the format similar to your Google listing.
Reviews will get more important than citations though. Getting reviews within the Google network would help more. Asking your audience on Google+, YouTube, or Gmail to leave reviews when logged into their Google account could help you out. Remember that Googleâ€™s channels still occupy the most space in any local search.
Your Website Must Be an All-rounder
It is also important to remember that peopleâ€™s mobile behavior is significantly influencing Googleâ€™s approach towards local search. The new Pigeon updates spring to mind. It will result in more and more unique results since Google has a clear idea about the location of each mobile user. To perform well your website needs to be relevant in many areas.
Content must be made informative and interesting, and optimized with local signals. This particularly applies to location pages that should be well-written and unique. Your blog too must be filled with local content. Your listing on Google My Business must be well optimized and social media must be your preferred means of communication with your customers.
The more the opportunities are in local SEO, the more competitive itâ€™s become. Itâ€™s time to be sharper, smarter and even more user oriented now.