A few weeks ago, I began seeing troubling bits of news in my Twitter feed about Ferguson, Mo. After watching an escalation of news in my Twitter and Facebook feeds over a matter of hours, I was baffled by the absence of the news as a trending topic. , and apparent absence from my feed on Facebook. How could everyone I know (and follow) be watching the events in Ferguson, and have it still not surfacing among trends on social networks?continue reading
Hot on the heels of the latest Penguin update, marketers are scrambling to measure its effects. Penguin 3.0, the first update since October 4th, 2013, completed its rollout early Monday, October 20th. That's right, those who were hit by the last Penguin update waited over a year without an update or refresh to see if their clean-up efforts had done the trick. As if elusive penguins weren't enough to worry about, marketers and brands have also had to contend with the finicky new local search algorithm Pigeon, which launched in July this year. Designed to provide more useful and relevant local search results, Pigeon brought hundreds of traditional web search algorithm factors into play for local search. It also improved on distance and location ranking parameters. Late in September, Google also released the Panda 4.1 update, affecting 3 to 5% of queries –just to keep things interesting. In the constantly shifting local search landscape, where it can feel like the targets are forever on the move (and interspersed with furry and feathered but unfriendly animals), what's a marketer to do? Pigeon & Penguin-Proofing Local Search A year is an awful long time to wait out an algorithmic penalty – longer than many brands can afford. Though Google has suggested they'll refresh Penguin more often from here on, however, there are no guarantees. We recently did a client survey at Rio SEO of the top retailers (those with hundreds of thousands of visits) and examined search traffic analytics right after the Pigeon update. What we found was that those with optimized local landing pages saw a 10% - 20% increase in traffic to those pages from search and an average of 20% increase in their local positions on SERPs (ie.: local map positions, etc.). You don't often hear these stories right after an algorithm update; typically, doom and gloom stories of the biggest losers plaster the web. In every algorithm update, though, those who have prepared and followed best practices rise above when the biggest losers fall. If you want to be one of the former, read on. Tracking and Measuring the Effects of Algorithmic Changes Beyond anecdotal evidence, how can you tell if your site has been impacted (either positively or negatively) by a Google algorithm update? Accurate tracking, measuring and reporting on the KPIs (key performance indicators) that actually matter is key. These include, but are not limited to: • Your rankings on the big search engines • Rankings in local search • Citation consistency across the ecosystem • Traffic from all engines, directories and niche sites • Link activity analytics • Number of reviews per location • Average review ratings You can learn more about each of these and how to use them for local search success in my last column on defining local SEO KPIs.
We recently contributed to a blog about Google's new "Pigeon" algorithm update, a major local algorithm change rolled out July 24 affecting Google Maps and local Google search results. Now that the dust has settled, local SEO practitioners can focus on the strategy and tools to prepare for the next inevitable algorithm shake-up. continue reading