Winning in the Google local search results

By Peter Yexley

Local SEO isn’t easy, especially organic seo.

Google’s perpetual changes

SEO experts talk of “the shift in organic signals to local algorithms” – Google moved the goalposts again and is continuing to do so,

Any webmaster who has even the slightest interest or knowledge in Google’s perpetual updates will be aware of the recent major local algorithm update, it has been dubbed “Pigeon” and hit the UK around Christmas 2014.

When you are running a local business and trying to keep up with Google updates, just to comply and achieve a high ranking in the the local listings is hard enough without having to run your business too.

In 1994 we saw the following Google updates:

Pigeon Expands to UK December 22, 2014
Penguin Everflux — December 10, 2014
Pirate 2.0 — October 21, 2014
Penguin 3.0 — October 17, 2014
“In The News” Box — October 2014
Panda 4.1 (#27) — September 23, 2014
Authorship Removed — August 28, 2014
HTTPS/SSL Update — August 6, 2014
Authorship Photo Drop — June 28, 2014
Panda 4.0 (#26) — May 19, 2014
Page Layout #3 — February 6, 2014

I genuinely believe the Google updates are good, yes they keep webmasters on their toes and contrary to common belief they are not set to trick webmasters. They certainly improve search engine rankings for those websites that have complied by following the guidelines.

I remember writing an article about 18 years ago and I was very clear in my opinion that the internet was not a friendly place for local business.
My thoughts then were that it was all about “the information superhighway” and cyber space was one massive village no matter where you were. Great for those wanting a global presence but totally useless for the local business who simply wants local customers.

However, that was many moons ago and Google has embraced local businesses in no small way.

Today, proximity to searcher is extremely crucial and Google wants to provide more accurate search results that relate to where the searcher is physically, unless .they are searching for a business in a specific location.

Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister in the UK said “the internet will provide a level playing field for all businesses large or small”.

The truth is, most small local businesses stand little or no chance against stronger organic websites that are connected to national brands and high street chains.

Well, small local businesses have an excellent chance. There is no silver bullet or magic wand but small local businesses have great potential to promote their websites and with good SEO techniques can be rewarded with high organic search results.

Starting with the basics such as SEO your web pages for proper titles, metatags, content and maintaining visitor experience are critical strategies. These are the foundations of good organic SEO.

Instead of considering whether your small local business has a chance fighting the big businesses, turn it around; does your competitor stand a chance against your website  if it has professional SEO, there’s no doubt that local search results are more competitive than they have ever been but Google is on your site if you have good SEO.