pigeon algorithm

On July 24, 2014, Google announced the roll out of their updated local search algorithm, dubbed ‘Pigeon’. Google’s new algorithm is specifically targeted at the local results and has completely altered the face of local search. With fewer maps and local “6-pack” results showing up at the top of Google’s searches, ranking as a local business is now more competitive and a site’s rankings are based on many more complex factors than ever before.

Join Local Positions and National Positions a free webinar next Wednesday, September 24 at 11AM PST to find out how to leverage Google’s new Local Algorithm in order to improve your exposure in Google’s local search results and drive more traffic and leads from your online presence.

REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR TODAY!

When: Wednesday, September 24 11 AM PST / 2 PM EST

In this 45-minute webinar, National Positions President Bernard May will discuss:

  • How Google’s Pigeon Algorithm has changed local search
  • Which local ranking factors now matter most to Google
  • The 10 most effective strategies to gain exposure at the top of the local results
  • The secret to improving your website authority
  • How to expand your reach with social media and content promotion
  • How to leverage maps citations, niche directories, reviews management and more to improve rankings and drive more targeted traffic

Join us this coming Wednesday, September 24 at 11AM to learn what SEO tactics you need in order to start getting the exposure you want from the local search and maps results in the face of Google’s Pigeon Algorithm.




Are you a business owner trying to figure out how to multiply your local business results? There are many steps you can take in order to achieve success, but there are 5 key steps that you should not pass over. The first step is to create a landing page on your website. Give a short description of your products, special offers, and why a customer should buy from you. The next step is to create a mobile presence for your company. Optimize local ads for mobile devices so you are a few finger taps away from potential customers. The next vital step is to set up your social presence and maintain a presence on each of these social channels by posting regularly to keep people informed about your business. Another step not all business owners think about is increasing your local citations. Doing this increases your likelihood of being found online by your customers. The last and perhaps most vital step for a local business is to augment positive reviews. Give your current happy customers an incentive to leave you a review so potential customers can see it. For more details, check out our infographic below or contact us for more information.

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Click below to embed this infographic into your website:




 

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Whether you’re a multi-branch franchise or a standalone brick and mortar, localizing your content is key if you want to attract customers that are in your area.

Localizing your content and your brand means creating content that customers in your target areas, towns, cities or even countries can recognize and relate to.

We all know that having your contact information front and center on your site is one of the most simple, but also most important elements for local businesses online. But localizing your content is about more than making sure your name, address, phone number, and geo-focused keywords related to your location are present throughout your site.

Tips for Creating Killer Localized Content

Show (and Tell) Your Customers How to Find You

Give a clear sense of where you’re located. Include images when possible. This will personalize your business, give a face to your storefront, and show visitors what to expect when they arrive at your brick and mortar.

Don’t forget that pictures speak louder than words, and adding maps to your site, well, they can be more beneficial than you’d think. Adding dynamic elements like imbedded maps is a simple way to eliminate any confusion that might hinder a customer coming to your store.  If you are a service business that goes to your customers, add a service area map to your pages and mention those locations in your copy to let visitors know you do, in fact, service their area.

Verbalize Your Locations Perks

When you’re creating content designed specifically to market your local business to customers in your area, don’t just tell people your address–describe your location in ways that will appeal to potential customers. Don’t just list your business’ location, describe it. Tell customers what makes your business unique and what makes your location convenient. If your brick and mortar is in the center of town, right off the highway–say so in your content.

Approach Each Location as an Individual Entity

If you’re multi-branch business, creating landing pages for each of your locations is a given. But remember that every location might not respond to the same messaging and a one-size fits all approach to localized content on your local landing pages isn’t always the best plan of action.

Tackle the content for each page by approaching each location in whatever way will appeal to those prospective customers. Not all of your customers in every location have the same tastes, values or experiences with your brand. The kind of language that appeals to a customer in Los Angeles might be different than someone looking to find your closest Texas storefront. If some of your local customers in one area tend to favor particular services or products, if some stores have neat locations, identifiable qualities or a unique staff–reflecting that in your content can help you better attract qualified customers in those areas.

 

 

 




Local Positions Hosts Google Breakfast Seminar

We recently invited Google to our offices in Agoura Hills to share their insights on the latest developments in the search industry. Read more to find out what the search giant had to say about the current state of SEO, mobile marketing, and the Hummingbird update.

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The Breakfast Seminar was a great way for local businesses to get from experts in the search industry, featuring speakers from Local Positions and Google, including Google’s Business Development Manager, Samir Janveja.  Topics centered around the best SEO strategies for brick and mortar businesses, and revealed surprising insights about how online searches drive offline purchases. According to data from Pew Research Center, over 5 billion local searches are conducted each month.  82% of those searches result in some sort of offline action, such as phone calls or visits to the store, and as many as 61% result in a direct purchase.

This data highlights just how critical a strong SEO strategy for local businesses. During the breakfast, speakers covered some of the most effective steps for optimizing a site for local search.  Particular emphasis was placed on mobile marketing, and for good reason: over 100 million Americans own a smartphone, and studies show that as many as 53% of all US sales are  the result of a search conducted on a smartphone. Mobile searchers are shown to be motivated customers, with 88% of customers contacting a business that they found through a local search within 24 hours.

Other strategies discussed during the seminar include on-the-page optimization guidelines, the importance of claiming your local listings, ensuring that your site is listed in relevant business directories, and using social media to reach out to your customers and extend your visibility. For more information about how Local Positions can help you increase your visibility on the web, give us a call today.




It’s an adage as old as time: in business, location is everything. That holds especially true today, but perhaps even more important than your own location is the location of your customers. Knowing when potential customers are nearby, and reaching out to them with time-sensitive special offers, is a growing trend in local marketing known as geo-fencing.

Simply put, geo-fencing is technology that detects when a participating user enters a specific zone – such as a mall or shopping center – and targets those users with relevant offers. For example, a boutique shoe store may send shoppers a brief text message offering a 10% coupon for shoppers that buy a pair of shoes within the next hour. Because the shoppers are nearby, and presumably in a shopping frame of mind, it can be a highly effective way to increase sales with relatively little effort.

How effective? According to a pilot study released by Placecast, a provider of location-based marketing solutions, 79% of participants said that the alerts increased the likelihood that they would visit the retailer, with many (nearly 60%) opening messages as soon as they received them, while others waited a day or two before viewing them. Reaction from shoppers was favorable, with most shoppers reporting that they had found the program to be relevant and useful, and that they would likely use the service in the future.

A common concern about geo-fencing is that consumers will find the service intrusive or that it would raise privacy concerns. Street Fight released polling data that gives revealing insight into the mindset of shoppers. When asked whether they’d be willing to allow a smartphone app to track their activities at all times if it meant a 50% off purchases at every store they visited, 50.7% of respondents answered “yes”. While the example in the question may be an extreme one, it certainly indicates that privacy sensitivities are fluid, and can be influenced by the promise of real rewards.

While the most obvious application may be in retail settings, there are marketing opportunities for a wide variety of local businesses, including service businesses. A heating and air conditioning company might target potential customers in their immediate neighborhoods with timely reminders to perform seasonal maintenance, for instance.

More and more retailers of every size are rolling out location-based marketing efforts, and geo-fencing is likely to increase in popularity over the next few years. For local businesses, the relatively low cost and ease of implementation, and the tangible impact it can have on sales makes this marketing solution a strategy worth considering.

 

Duprey, Patrick. Poll: 50.7% of Consumers Would Trade Location Privacy for Discounts. Street Fight Mag, 30 July 2012. http://streetfightmag.com/2012/07/30/50-7-of-consumers-would-trade-location-privacy-for-discounts/  accessed 10/21/2013.

Kogel, Kathryn. Consumer Insights on Location-Based Mobile Marketing. Placecast ShopAlerts Pilot Studies Executive Summary. http://placecast.net/research/Placecast-ShopAlerts-Pilot-Studies.pdf accessed 10/21/2013.




During the course of designing a site, one critical question will come up early in the process: do you want to use an adaptive design or a responsive design? In the end, what is most important is that you deliver a quality experience for each of your visitors, regardless of how they’re reaching your site.

In terms of layout, website design used to be a fairly straightforward approach with relatively few variables to plan for. Sites were typically accessed from desktop or laptop computers, monitor sizes and proportions were fairly standard, and there were only a few browsers on the market.  For the most part, one design would work reasonably well across the board. Today, however, visitors access the web using myriad different devices – desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles and televisions. Creating a single design that looks good on every device is simply impossible, making it necessary to come up with a strategy to optimize the site based on the user’s individual needs.

Adaptive Design

The first approach came in the form of Adaptive Design, and in fact this method is often favored simply because it has been around the longest and is familiar.  Simply put, adaptive design adapts the format of the website to fit a predetermined set of screen sizes. AWD detects the screen size based on the type of device that the visitor is using, and applies the appropriate formatting through scripting, typically via CSS and JavaScript.

Adaptive design has clear strengths and weaknesses. It is a more straightforward implementation, typically requiring less coding. It can also be coded to take place server-side, meaning all the work is done before the page is delivered to the client, which can streamline the user experience.  However, adaptive design is based strictly on device screen size, and does not take into account the actual window size that the visitor is using. Additionally, users accessing the site from a device that has not been accounted for may end up with a subpar viewing experience.

Responsive Design

Responsive design, on the other hand, does the adjustment on the client-side, which means the device itself is doing the processing work, which may result in slower loading times. The benefit of client-side processing, however, is that sites developed using Responsive Design can adjust to each user’s specific viewing conditions, based not only on device screen size, but on factors such as browser window size and even device orientation.  These changes take place on the fly – as you resize the window in a site with Responsive Design, you’ll see the screen continually adjusting and redrawing to present the content in the  most optimal way.

This versatility and flexibility is a key reason why Responsive Design has become the new standard in website design. While there may be instances where an Adaptive Design approach makes the most sense, in most cases, Responsive Design gives the best assurance that your visitors will see your site the way you want them to.

Not Sure Which Design You Need? Call Us!

When you’re optimizing your site for your users, it’s important to take this question under serious consideration. In our experience, the vast majority of sites will benefit from a Responsive Design approach over Adaptive Design, but if you’d like to review your particular site’s needs in more detail, we’d be happy to discuss your options.

 




Most have us have noticed that Google’s made some changes, and not just in improving the local results they return, but in the very look and feel of those results.

What we’re referring to is Google’s local search “carousel,” which was launched back in July of this year for select types of local searches, mainly restaurants, hotels, bars and the like.

The introduction of Carousel Results has been the biggest change to Google’s local search results pages since the Google first began integrating map listings with their organic search results.

And while all of us, from SEO companies to local brick and mortars, may be adjusting to the local carousel and everything that this new layout means for local search, it’s important to pay attention to the most important consequence that can accompany these changes: the way Google’s searchers are reacting as well. That’s because, ultimately, the ways that Google’s users are searching for, finding, and interpreting, information is the most critical change to monitor.

In order to explore how Google’s new carousel is affecting not just search, but the searchers themselves, Nifty Marketing has conducted an interesting study on how real searchers are viewing these new search results, what their first opinions are, how they react and more.

In the study, random searchers were filmed reacting to the new look of Google’s local search. Here’s just one example of a user’s take on Google’s refreshed-looking local search results:

This look at how searchers react to Google’s local SERPs, shows some interesting trends–including that, while the images included in the carousel are certainly likely to capture the searchers attention and can be used to draw their eyes to a particular local listing, searchers are more inclined to value listings with ratings (especially Goolge+ and Yelp) higher than others.

What does all this mean for you?

Having a site that’s optimized for local search is becoming increasingly complex, and getting found online as a brick and mortar business is becoming more competitive.

In order to really make the most out of Google’s new local SERPs, you need to have an optimized site and local listings sure, but that means more than just having accurate information and the few necessary basics. It involves a whole host of local SEO strategies, it means having high-quality photos, getting involved on Google+, encouraging positive reviews on powerful sites like Yelp, and more.

If you’d like to learn more about what you need to do to get your local business found by customers in your area, we’re here to help, just give us a call at 877-470-6930.




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Join us Local Positions and Google for a Free Local Business Breakfast Seminar on October 17th!

On Thursday October 17th, from 10-12PDT, Local Positions will be hosting experts from Google at our offices in Agoura Hills for an exclusive seminar event for select local businesses in the Los Angeles area. We’re thrilled to have teamed up with the top search experts at Google to host this free breakfast seminar event for local business owners.

Today, expanding your reach online, is the key to growing your business offline.

Local search has never been more important for brick and mortar businesses than it is now. Over 5 billion local searches are made each month. 1 out of every 3 searches today involves a city, state, or zip code. Over 80% of local searches that are made online, result in actions taken offline. Tapping into the local market is essential, especially if you’re looking to reach new customers and drive more business to your brick and mortar.

This exciting local marketing seminar will feature speakers from both Local Positions and Google, including Local Positions president, Arhtur Yannoukos, and Google’s strategic partner manager, Samir Janveja, and will conclude with the opportunity for a Q&A session with our speakers. Breakfast and refreshments will be available. Space is limited so RSVP to reserve your seat today.

At this exclusive local marketing seminar, we’ll be giving attendees new insights into today’s competitive local market as well as sharing the latest technologies and techniques to help you grow your business by leveraging your online presence and fine-tuning your local marketing strategies. Attendees will receive actionable steps and insider strategies on how to create profitable online marketing campaigns designed specifically to target local customers in their area. To reserve your seat or to learn more about the Local Business Breakfast Seminar, you can visit the event page here: www.localpositions.com/localbusinessbreakfast




New Yelp App now allows mobile reviews straight from your phone

Yelp has officially announced that their latest app–currently available for iOs and soon to come for Android users–will allow users to leave reviews directly from their mobile phones. And it’s about time.

While Yelp had already made it possible in the past for users to leave short, quick reviews much akin to tweets on Twitter,  full-blown user-reviews weren’t part of the app until now and often had to wait until a customer made it all the way back to their home computer. Thankfully, their new app makes it easier than ever for customers to leave reviews whenever and wherever they want.

How Will Yelp’s New Mobile App Additions Affect Local Businesses and their Online Reviews?

This has been seen as a great opportunity by some businesses, while others have met this announcement with a bit of trepidation. For businesses that provide excellent services, tremendous products, or often leave customers with the memory of a great experience, customers will be able to write a review about that great experience right on the spot, while the memory is still fresh and their positivity is at it’s peak.

Part of the reason that many businesses, especially local businesses, struggle with online reviews is the reality that happy customers who may leave an establishment with the intent to write a rave review, often get distracted or forget by the time they arrive home and are much  less likely to write that review than someone with a negative experience actively looking to vent. Thankfully, by making the review process more accessible, happy customers won’t have as many barriers en-route to a leaving a review, and more and more businesses will be able to get the positive reviews they deserve.

On the other hand, many fear that this could also allow those looking to vent an immediate means to do so–meaning no time for them to reflect or reassess like they may have otherwise done if given more time before leaving a scathing review about a service or product.

While this news has been met with mixed feelings by many local businesses, it certainly means more reviews, more opinions being shared, more customer voices being heard. And for businesses who are hoping to get more exposure, more positive reviews, and ultimately, more new customers–this could be an incredibly exciting opportunity.

 

 




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Google has officially launched their new “Local Search Carousel.”

Now, when you search for local businesses, instead of just displaying local restaurants, hotels, bars,  or any other local brick and mortar in the traditional SERP format, Google has added an interactive “carousel” to the top of the local results page.

While this new look has been in beta since December, it’s now been officially launched and expanded to desktops as well as iPad and Nexus tablets, with new looks, languages and features still to come, said Google. As of now, the carousel is available only in limited verticals (specific examples include: hotels, bars, and restaurants), and is only available for english queries within the US.

So, what does this mean for your business?

The addition of this interactive carousel to the local search results will have a big impact, not just for searchers, but for local businesses too.

If your business isn’t ranking in the precious top few results above the fold, then Google carousel has the power to significantly boost your visibility and drive more traffic and new leads to your site. Now, even without ranking in the top SERP spots, businesses can still get their sites powerful exposure at the top of the page, complete with image.

In order to make the most of this opportunity, businesses should:

1. Encourage positive user reviews. Because your star rating will be on full display, working to improve your ratings and reviews is key. And, enough great reviews on your Google business listing will give you a score on a 30-pt scale–think: Zagat Guide–and that score will show up in your results, increasing your exposure and enticing searchers to click.

2. Optimize your Google listing. If more people are going to be seeing your local listing, you’ll want to make sure that it’s optimized. Make sure your NAP information (name, address, and phone number) as well as any other important information like hours, for example, are updated and accurate.

3. Pick the ideal image. With Google displaying thumbnails in their carousel, making sure that that image is not only representative of your business, but eye-catching as well, is essential. Choose an image that shows your business’ best attributes, but just as importantly, an image that stands out from the crowd.