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
Multi-location businesses face unique challenges in the management, optimization, and distribution of local business listing information. Accuracy is critical for every business, but those with a number of locations must also master scale. It's easy to get bogged down in spreadsheets and a hodgepodge of tools. After all, most marketers struggle to see the ROI from local campaigns, so it can be difficult to justify putting budget here to streamline your efforts. You might simply rely on Yext, or have an agency do the work for you. continue reading
By Tyler Ludwig / Interactive Marketing Manager, Rio SEO Spring is finally here...and so are the countless ways you can bring local SEO into your marketing campaigns for 2014! The days where a business owner could simply have a website and submit his or her information to Google Places are long gone. If you're a multi-location brand, doing this for hundreds or thousands of local businesses is simply not scalable. Fortunately getting a jump-start for spring can be achieved with five essential updates to your existing marketing campaigns: continue reading
By Bill Connard / VP of Local Search Solutions Having specialized in Local SEO for more than 10 years, I have seen a lot of change in the local search space and Google’s new local search Carousel is as exciting (and dynamic) as it gets. With any new change in the way Google serves up results, both search marketers and SEO directors want to know the factors that will help deliver better local search rankings. With the new Google Carousel the jury is still out around those factors. continue reading
by Michael Rosa/SEO Strategist with contributions from Mick Wilson, Director, Client Services A few weeks ago, the most recognizable voice of Google, web spam expert Matt Cutts announced a new Penguin update to be released over the summer. Matt teased us with vague descriptions of the areas targeted by the upcoming algorithm updates, tactics targeted to include advertorials that pass page rank, better link scheme analysis and domain name clustering among others. SEO’s both enterprise level and local marketers everywhere started waiting for the impact to hit. On the afternoon of May 22, 2013 Cutts confirmed with a tweet that Penguin 4.0 was being pushed to Google’s data centers. continue reading
Specialty retailer Charming Charlie operates more than 240 retail stores in the United States where it sells fashion accessories like scarves, jewelry and purses. It’s opening those stores at a fast clip—more than 20 in the last four months alone—and is laying the groundwork to launch direct-to-consumer e-commerce at CharmingCharlie.com in August. The retailer is staffing up its web team—it anticipates going from a three-person web team today to 25 by the end of 2013—but one of the first things Kim LaFleur, Charming Charlie’s vice president of e-commerce, did when she joined the retailer three months ago was fix how Charming Charlie showed up in search engine results. continue reading