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Finding-Local-Search-Success,Post-Pigeon-&-Penguin-3Hot 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.  

Improve Your Local Search Strategy with Best Practices for Organic & Local Results

Each year, Moz conducts a survey of industry experts on local search ranking factors. The 2014 survey results were released in September and this year, Moz asked survey respondents to rate specific factors that contribute to rankings across pack/carousel and localized organic results. Participants also addressed which factors have increased or decreased in importance since the introduction of the Penguin algorithm.   The study points to critical areas of focus for local marketers. If you need to prioritize your optimization efforts, start with these areas identified as most impactful by local search experts (just don't forget to move on to the rest afterwards!).   First, experts ranked the influence of eight groups of ranking factors across the two types of local results: pack/carousel and localized organic. You can see more on Moz's methodology here.   Moz_Local_Search_Ranking_Factors_1 Image Credit: Moz   On-page signals (21%) – the presence of name, address, phone number (NAP); link signals, and external location signals – ranked most important, according to industry experts.   Looking into the factors ranked most important for either pack/carousel or localized organic results, we see different areas of focus that point to opportunities for marketers struggling in one area of the other:   Moz_Localized_and_Pack_Carousel_results   In localized organic search results, industry experts rated on-page signals and link signals as of almost equal importance. Together, they are considered about equally as influential as all other factors combined.   For pack/carousel results, however, experts feel on-page signals are far less significant – and link signals even less so. My business signals – categories, keyword in business title, proximity, etc. – are considered significantly more important here than for localized organic results. External location signals like YP and aggregator NAP consistency and citation volume are also given more weight for pack/carousel results by industry experts.   Moz identified the Top 5 Localized Organic Ranking Factors as: 1. City, state and landing page in title 2. Domain authority of the website 3. Page authority of the landing page URL 4. Quality and authority of inbound links to the domain 5. Quality and authority of inbound links to the landing page URL   Their Top 5 Pack/Carousel Ranking Factors are: 1. Physical address in city of search 2. Proper category associations 3. Consistency of structured citations 4. Quality/authority of structured citations 5. HTML NAP matching My Business Page NAP   For the full list of Moz's top 50 local ranking factors segmented by localized organic and pack/carousel and commentary from their survey experts, see The 2014 Local Search Ranking Factors.   To learn more about how you can maximize local search traffic this holiday season, check out Rio SEO's webinar on Nov 13th: How to Maximize Local Search Traffic This Holiday Season.   Author: Bill Connard   Originally posted at Search Engine Watch
Dentsu Aegis Network has agreed to acquire one of the largest independent search and content marketing agencies not affiliated with the major agency holding companies. continue reading
8.5.14_Rio SEO Blog_FB 1 Mega Trend_185895589 After attending Street Fight Summit West in San Francisco last month, we wanted to share the latest trends in the rapidly evolving hyperlocal space.   Ted Zagat, Facebook’s local product marketing manager, spoke about the six “Mega Trends” his company is focusing on this year, specifically:   continue reading
By Bill Connard / VP, Local Search, Rio SEO   8.4.14 blog_463656521 Last month, Rio SEO joined the local search industry’s brightest minds at Street Fight Summit West in San Francisco. This is where the world’s most successful and influential companies shared their local SEO insights and forward-looking advice. continue reading
Womma_JerktechToday we live amidst the workings of a “sharing economy.”  By sharing economy, I mean an environment where we have commercial interactions that are based on personal and many-to-many versus one (impersonal)-to-many.  For a detailed explanation on what constitutes a sharing economy, check out Wikipedia's entry.   continue reading

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Accurate tracking, measurement, and reporting is mission critical for local SEO marketers. Brands have a massive amount of local and organic search data available to them (especially those with multiple locations), but not all data is created equal.

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By Karisa Macias / Marketing Manager, Rio SEO   Last week we held a webinar hosted by the folks at Digital Marketing Depot entitled “How Local SEO Automation Delivers Results for Multi-Location Businesses.” For local SEO marketers, accurate tracking, measurement and reporting is critical to save time and keep costs in line.   continue reading
When asked to rate their biggest challenges with managing digital media for their business, 47% of local business owners said they don’t have enough knowledge or expertise; 43% said they don’t have enough time; and 26% said they don’t have enough resources, according to a Local Search Association/Thrive Analytics survey conducted earlier this year.   continue reading
Social media citySocial media has changed the face of word-of-mouth marketing, providing everyday people with massive platforms for sharing their opinions about businesses online. These so-called “influencers,” who’ve been loosely defined as consumers who are able to mobilize opinions and create reactions when talking about specific topics, can have a major impact on a local merchant’s online reputation. continue reading
By Karisa Macias / Marketing Manager, Rio SEO   "Stay curious. Be passionate. That's our job as marketers." -David Shing   Interactive Day Last week, my home town hosted one of the West Coast’s premier one-day digital marketing and ad technology events, Interactive Day San Diego, with more than 1,200 marketers in attendance.   Imagine an entire day with thought leaders covering every aspect of digital marketing, including four keynote speakers, 20 breakout sessions, and an industry tradeshow where exhibitors offered chair massages, temporary tattoos, Yo-Yo's, and even prizes for a few skilled tosses of Cornhole. continue reading

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