Good question !

Everything and Nothing really.

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Businesses that have been around for a while and have a firm hold on their Local rankings should continue as normal – this means continue doing what you’re doing. Established rankings seem easier to hold on to than to let them drop and have to claw your way back up. So keep using your established proven methods to hold firm.

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For newer businesses or established businesses that are just starting out on the Google roller coaster ( yes it is a roller coaster and Google is in charge of the dips, rises and loops ) there are some tactics that you should take note of further towards the bottom of this post.

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Over the years that I’ve been doing local Local SEO I’ve noticed that though there are constant changes, and new ways to improve rankings appear, a few major things have stayed the same.

  • Reviews are still a huge factor onsite and on 3rd party review sites.
  • Citations – mentions around the web of your business – are still a necessity.
  • Fresh, relevant and localised content is needed so that Google and searchers know you’re still there and operating.
  • GEO-tagged photos on your website and around the web are still a great way to show Google that people are interested in your business.

Basically Google wants to know that you are there and that people are interested in you.

So what’s new then …

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Google have recently cracked down on what they call Doorway Pages. These are basically pages Google sees as only pages for search engines not pages that have any value to the searcher. In local search some examples of a “doorway page” would be a page that has no unique content just a different location ie a pressure cleaning business might have the exact same content for the Sydney pressure cleaning page and a page for Chatswood pressure cleaning.

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The trusty 7-pack of local results seem to be disappearing with more 3-packs showing up searches from desktop computers. However there are more local results now showing as Organic results then ever before.

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Keywords and “long tail key words” seem to be playing a bigger part in Local Google search results then they previously were. Google say there has been a big shift in the way searchers use Google – more people are searching from mobile devices using the speech-search facilities. Google also states that 15% of daily searches are unique searches these are mostly “long tail key words”.

So it might be useful for a hotel to target long tail keywords such as cozy North Sydney Hotel or family friendly budget hotel Orange. There are some areas of Local Search that are congested and getting into the 7 or 3 pack is near impossible, however targeting the longer tail keyword searches can still get you ranking in those highly competitive markets.

I was listening to a Canadian local SEO expert, Joy Hawkins Marketing Director at Imprezzo Marketing,  this morning who also states that long tail keyword searches convert better even though there are less volume of searches.

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All business should keep a close eye on their rankings – Google rolled out a new update on the 23rd on May in the USA and many sites had a sudden drop in rankings which reverted the following day. There’s a fair bit of debate amoungst SEO guys as to why this was, but of course Google is saying nothing !

I haven’t see this recent update hit our shores and it might not but like all things on the Google Roller Coaster keep a firm eye on your rankings and hold on tight because tomorrow everything could change again.