If there’s one thing you absolutely need to know about Google, it’s that the leading name in the search engine optimization (SEO) world loves to shake things up – a lot. In fact, the idea of change and innovation is essentially the only thing that stays the same with Google’s approach, especially when it comes to local SEO content and brand awareness.
However, just because the Penguin and Pigeon updates have flipped the search engine world on its head this past year, that doesn’t mean you’re moving forward completely in the dark. With a strong understanding of what it takes to get noticed on this front, as well as a few savvy tips and tricks, you’ll be ready to take your little corner of the Internet – and the local shoppers associated with this slice of the web – by storm.
Breaking down the Defining Attributes of Local SEO
To get you off on the right foot, there’s no better place to start than with the insight offered by Bill Connard of Search Engine Watch regarding the key ranking factors and metrics for local SEO. Not surprisingly, incorporating the city and state or province into the content, including the post title and the on-page text, plays a major role in connecting this kind of offering with related local results.
Aside from tethering posts to local search terms via geographic identifiers, Connard notes that the next two hotspots cover the authority of your domain in general, as well as the authority of any landing page URLs that greet inbound viewers for the specific piece of content in question. Additionally, the quality and authority of both inbound links to your domain and to the aforementioned landing page URLs wrap up Connard’s top local SEO content attributes.
If you’re noticing a trend in the last four characteristics, then you’re starting to catch on to the overarching theme here. Google isn’t just worried about one page of local content in particular, but rather how all of your branded pages mesh together into a unified and value-driven persona.
Digging Deeper into Content Optimization
Of course, simply spewing off a laundry list of the things Google looks for as it crawls pages in the post-Pigeon and Penguin world simply isn’t enough to get the job done. If you really want to rise above the competition, Search Engine Land’s Greg Gifford has some creative ideas and tactics to consider as you or your content professional aims to realign your page development and optimization plan.
First off, pages lacking quality content – or even any content at all – are a virtual death sentence for your domain authority. Naturally, filling a page with fluff or keywords doesn’t work either, but no brand that’s serious about its digital presence can afford to have empty white space spilling across the monitor for the person on the other side of the screen. If you want to make a positive move forward from a local SEO perspective, every piece of digital content needs to work in harmony with the rest of your content, not just what’s next up on the agenda.
As far as tweaking the little variables and moving pieces go, Gifford points out that there’s no need to be shy when working in mentions of your city and state or province into meta descriptions, URLs, and even image alt text. Again, there is a certain level of finesse that goes into this process, but the more you can work in appropriate connections, the better off you’ll be when it comes to honing in on your local viewer outreach.
At the end of the day, this is clearly just the tip of the iceberg in terms of improving the quality of your local SEO content. However, at least now you’re up to speed and ready to make the right decision regarding your SEO practices for both the foreseeable future and whenever Google decides to send waves through the digital world again with its next major update.