Rachel Lindteigen’s recent article in SearchEngineLand.com, “Google Maps, Yelp & Local SEO In 2015“, provides an excellent review of the current state of Local SEO. Much has changed in the past year, due to Google’s “Pigeon” algorithm update, which is designed to deliver more relevant local results to searchers. In many cases, the effect of this algorithm is that the first page of Google shows fewer specific businesses, and more links to directory sites such as Yelp or YP.com.
The two most important directories for most businesses are Yelp and Google My Business (which has evolved from Google Places, and is quite distinct from traditional Google organic search). Lindteigen gives great advice on getting started with these key directories, and then optimizing your listings, obtaining reviews, and engaging with reviewers. But, it is important that you don’t STOP at Google and Yelp.
For a slightly more technical article about optimizing for local search, check out “Post-Pigeon Best Practice: How To Optimize For Internet Yellow Pages & Directories“. This goes into more detail about how and why to optimize your business on online Yellow Pages and business directory websites.
The good news? None of these techniques are brand new – most of the same best practices from before Pigeon are still advised today. In my experience, sites that were already focused on cultivating a positive online reputation and having a consistent Name, Address, and Phone number across all directories, social media sites, and beyond have continued to grow.