rocket-d TOP 9 Local Search Factors

Local Search is very different from Regional, Global or National Search.

michigan-local-search-engine-optimizationHere’s a quick little explanation of the differences. Local Searches are VERY different than broader Regional, National or Global Searches, ie: the inclusion of City/State/Zip at the beginning or end of a search input (Book Stores vs Book Stores Portland Maine). Once a users enters city, state or zip into a search it becomes a Local Search.

To rank well for Local Search you need to take a different approach to optimizing your webpage for these results. Optimizing for Local, Regional, National and Global results is very difficult as search engines view your ranking factors differently. Without getting too detailed here, we present the ranking factors for Local Search that we feel are important to get the best positions for Local Search Results.

Top 9 Local Search Ranking Factors

  1. City, State in Landing Page Title Hi I?m from {insert location here}
  2. Domain Authority of Website Get some links; and then get some more links
  3. Page Authority of Landing Page URL Get some deep links; and then get some more deep links
  4. Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain Don’t be linking your stinky-a%$ links to my beautiful site please
  5. Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL And definitely do not pass that rotten juice to my landing page or I’ll send it right back!
  6. Physical Address in City of Search I swear this is not a virtual office address. Pinky promise.
  7. Product / Service Keyword in Website URL Try something like MaineBookStore.com or YarmouthOrgainicFood.com
  8. Click-Through Rate from Search Results Is your listing inviting to click on? Or is it boring?
  9. City, State in Landing Page H1/H2 Tags What this really means is use the City, State keywords prominently in the UI. Use whatever damn tag you want.

rocket-d Mobilegeddon is here and it is not as bad as expected

Ever since Google announced their new mobile ranking algorithm, many webmasters were afraid of the upcoming ‘mobilegeddon’. Google released the new algorithm on April 21, 2015. Was it as bad as expected? Do you still have to adjust your web pages?

What exactly is Google’s new algorithm?

On 21 April, Google released a new ranking algorithm that changes the way web pages are ranked in Google’s mobile results. According to Google, web pages that do not display correctly on mobile phones, will get lower rankings than before:

According to Google, there are 4.7% more mobile-friendly websites today than two months ago, when Google announced the new algorithm. The update doesn?t apply to all devices or results:

  • it affects only search rankings on mobile phones
  • it applies to individual pages of a site, not the entire website
  • it is a global algorithm update that affects search results in all languages

Screen Shot 2015-04-07

Many webmasters changed their websites – was it worth it?

It seems that Google hasn’t put much weight on it in the rankings yet. The mobile results haven’t changed dramatically and for most websites, the effect seems to be small. Some websites saw dropped rankings for some of their keywords but not for all.

Of course, it might be too early to tell as Google said that rolling out the update would take several days.

Before you change your web pages, consider this

When Google announced that secure websites would get an advantage, a lot of websites added SSL certificates in a hurry and encountered many problems that were hard to fix (broken security certificates, broken plugins, less relevant AdSense ads, etc.). So far, HTTPS sites don’t seem to rank better than regular websites.

The new mobile algorithm could be similar. A new mobile website can also cause problems:

  • for many websites, mobile traffic is worth less than desktop traffic
  • if you change an effective web page with high conversions and replace it with an untested mobile design, conversions might drop
  • the time that you invest in creating a mobile website cannot be invested in other marketing activities that might have a higher return-on-investment

It’s best to have a professional developer or consultant take a look at your site to assure that it’s ready to convert to mobile, and what the best way is to do it. Going fully responsive is the best way that we recommend.

There are many things that are more important

Even Google makes it clear that the mobile algorithm is only one of many factors that influences the position of a website:

“Note that this is just one of over 200 signals we use to evaluate the best results. Non-mobile-friendly sites won?t disappear from mobile Search results? they may still rank high if they hold great content the user wants.

While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.”

Before you make your web pages mobile-friendly, make sure that everything else is correct. Many things are much more important like quality content, no broken links, image alt tags, h1 tags, and more.

To check if your site is mobile-friendly, you can examine individual pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test or check the status of your entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools. If your site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search. But have no fear, once your site becomes mobile-friendly, we will automatically re-process (i.e., crawl and index) your pages.  You can also expedite the process by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index, and then your pages can be treated as mobile-friendly in ranking.