Google has made some big changes to its algorithm in the last 12 months, most notably the Panda update, which targeted websites with duplicated and thin content, and the Penguin update which looked to target websites that had engaged in over optimisation techniques such as ‘Keyword Stuffing’. Many websites have been affected by these changes but perhaps a less talked about shift in the dynamic of search engine optimisation has been the rise of local search.
With Google Places now becoming Google+ for Business it is clear that the world’s biggest search engine sees locality as a key determining factor in the future of search results.
The trend is no doubt fuelled by the development of Google Maps and the meteoric growth in mobile browsing as a result of Smart Phone technology. Users now tend to use the map functions and apps on their phones to find the businesses that are within the closest proximity to them.
Over the past 18 months I have personally seen a real shift in how Business approach their online strategies, moving away from the ‘Money’ key phrases (High search volume key phrases that have equally high competition levels) and have now moved towards a local search strategy instead.
Over the coming months, this growing trend will highlight the need for businesses and SEO’s alike to work out a local link building strategy, enabling a highly relevant and diverse link building profile.
What type of local link should I focus on?
As with all link building it will take time to build a solid foundation and source the best links for your business. But when done correctly local link building can help to drive relevant traffic to your website and this traffic has a very strong chance to convert.
Here are the main types of local links to look for:
• Search engine local sites (Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local)
• Charities in surrounding area
• Chamber of Commerce
• Local news publications
• Local business directories
• City websites
• Local bloggers
• Universities, colleges, trade schools
By getting local links from these places you are saying to the search engines that you are an important locally based company with strong ties within your local community and, coupled with a regularly updated Google+ Business page and relevant content within your website this will help to define a strong local geographical search presence.
If you haven’t considered building local links as part of you online marketing strategy now is the time to do it. Your Add People in house team can draw on a wealth of expertise in helping businesses to create effective SEO strategies targeting marketing budgets locally and are on top of the increasing pace of search engine development.