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Post Penguin 2.0 SEO Strategies For Small Business
Posted by Cameron Francis on January 10, 2014 in SEO

Penguin 2.0 was launched on 5/22/13.  This update to the search algorithm concentrates on detecting sites that are benefiting from the use of link spam. Google says more sites will have a positive impact from this change than from Penguin 1.0 that was launched last year. Penguin 1.0 largely focused on sites with unnatural link profiles.

Post Penguin 2.0

Penguin 2.0 particularly concentrates on patterns of backlinks, use of anchor texts, and link building practices that can misguide users. Penguin 2.0 has had a particularly large affect on the results of local search.

Unanticipated Boost To Local Search

With the launch of Penguin 2.0 some significant changes occurred in the way Google processed local search results.  Google began integrating a large amount of localised results in the results of organic searches for broad terms and at times Google Place listing don’t appear at all.

This is certainly beneficial for local businesses. This update benefits regional businesses since their exposure is increased for queries that are informational. For instance a small coffee shop would have no possibility of ranking well for the keyword “coffee”. However, Google is ranking local businesses more prominently with Penguin 2.0.

Here are some actions that local businesses can take to maximise their search exposure, post Penguin 2.0.

Get Local Citations

Post Penguin, brand mentions and local citations have a large affect. Citations have a vital role in ranking for local searches.  Therefore, the more often, the name of your business, your business address and business phone number (your NAP) is detected on sites that are related to your location and niche, the better your local ranking is likely to be.

Since building citations is a key component of local SEO, it is beneficial for you to create a local business citation profile. You should also be sure that your citations are listed correctly on sites like City Search, Map Quest, and Yellow Pages, since this will assist you in establishing your local presence. In addition, citations help to authenticate your business, since it is difficult to have a fictitious Chamber of Commerce listing, or city business index listing.  Local citations will provide your NAP to the sources that search engines rely upon for information that is valid and reliable on local businesses.

Optimise For Mobile 

With such a large proportion of web searches being done from mobile sites, it is crucial that small businesses create a site that is optimised for mobile. This is particularly true for local businesses because the results of searches are far more geo-centric when executed from mobile devices as opposed to desktops.

If you need your business to be discovered by mobile users and you want them to become customers, be certain that you have a site that renders well on mobile devices. This may be a responsively designed site or a separate mobile site. You will miss out on a large number of potential customers if visitors are dissatisfied with the mobile experience supplied by your site. Of course, coupled with your mobile site, you will still need a consistent effort with your local SEO.

Guest Blogging 

For your SEO campaign you must also concentration on branding citations. To do this you will need to distribute relevant content (using your NAP) on relevant high quality sites with backlinks that point to your site. 

Guest Blogging  is a beneficial and powerful method of link building. It can make the content and brand of  a local site much more visible. With guest blogging you can get contextual backlinks that will increase the authority of your site and your local search rankings, particularly when you obtain links from blogs with a local presence. 

If you are permitted ,place your (NAP) in your guest post. This is an unstructured citation and it is a helpful factor in ranking for local searches.

Using Social Media Platforms

Social signals are an important factor influencing local search results. To obtain a social buzz for your brand, you must engage with your customers on social media platforms like Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and StumbleUpon.

In addition to giving your SEO efforts a boost, social media provides you with a way to engage your potential customers directly and it provides a way to increase the awareness of your brand. Social media gives you a way to form relationships and create connections. Your followers, friends, and fans will spread the news about your business and increase your exposure.

Each Location Should Have Its Own Page 

If your business has several locations, you should create a page for each specific location on your site.

Local searches were segregated in the past. The results of local searches would appear in the results of Google Places and the search results would not be localised unless specific locations were added by users. With Penguin 2.0 the scenario has changed. Local results are now more integrated. Google is making an effort to provide local results when possible. 

Therefore, to increase your chance of ranking high in local search, you should have a separate page allocated for each of the physical locations your business occupies. Each page should contain relevant information regarding services and hours of operation in addition to address and contact information.

Local Reviews On Google Plus

Google is increasingly factoring in social signals in search results. Social signals, like customer reviews serve to confirm the position and relevance of a business. Organic search is getting to be more natural by listening to what  customers say about a business rather than listening to what a business says about itself. 

A good way to request reviews is to write a personalised email to your clients, requesting that they visit your Google Plus local page and write a review. You may also want to build a landing page with a link on it that points to your Google Plus Local Page, so that your customers can post reviews.

Finally, be certain that you construct a review and testimonial page on your site where you can compile all of your reviews utilising rich snippets as a portion of the information that you make available on your services and products.

Use Rich Snippets Schema Markup

You can enhance the visibility and presentation of your pages in the SERPs by the addition of rich snippets. One method for accomplishing this is by adding schema markup to your review information so that search engines are aware of the nature of this content. It also assists search engines in correlating these reviews with your business. It’s a good idea to utilise hReview format when structuring your reviews as it is an excellent method for the display of review content in search results.

By implementing rich snippets you will be sure golden stars will be shown underneath your listing in search. This will be dependent upon the specific keywords that are searched. These rich snippets tend to be clicked on more frequently.

You Should Optimise Your Business’ Google Plus Local Page

The local listings on Google Plus provide local businesses with a great chance to become visible on local search results. The number of Google Plus local listing that are shown in the SERPs have increased dramatically and therefore, local businesses should take advantage of this in their SEO campaigns.

Author Your Content On Google Plus

Authorship assists Google in understanding how credible someone is who has posted content.  This assists Google in differentiating an author with credibility and authority from a spammer.

Google will also display the author’s details in search results. This will include a picture of the author, and a link to the Google Plus profile of the author, along with a link to additional content that was authored by this person.  The author’s picture adjacent to search results, and authorship will surely increase the click-through-rates of your listings in the SERPs.

Marketing Local Content 

There are a number of platforms through which content can be marketed by local businesses. First, you must create engaging and useful content for your target audience and then market it through infographics, blog posts, news, and articles.

Local businesses should optimise their website with content created specifically for the local market. This will enable a local business to engage with their customers and also increase the number of social signals and natural links to their site.  This will help you to obtain more targeted local leads.

Marketing With Local Video

Video can give quite a boost to your local SEO efforts. Video provides you with a chance to interact with potential clients and it gives you a chance to explain your business to them and make them more comfortable doing business with you. You may upload videos onto YouTube or you can host your own videos.

YouTube

Since Google controls YouTube, well optimised YouTube videos will tend to rank well in Google’s SERPs. You should have a YouTube channel that is associated with your business and upload your videos to it. Ensure that your videos are optimised with local value. This will include targeting local keywords and including your NAP and a link to the appropriate landing page on your site in the video description. Another advantage is that mobile users can call your business directly from the search results when your video appears in the SERPs and YouTube permits you to set each video’s location to provide you with an additional local signal.

Videos That Are Self-Hosted

If you create videos that are self-hosted, you can use rich-snippets to provide your video with a preview in the search results that will link to your site. This will tend to increase your CTR and increase user engagement. You can:

  • Host the video on your server
  • Include your video in a landing page
  • Use rich-snippets markup
  • Use a video player supported by HTML5
  • Submit a sitemap of your video in Google’s Webmaster Tool 

Business Blog

Many local businesses are not making use of blogs to enhance their local SEO efforts.  Local businesses can utilise guest blogs to surpass their competitors.

Google is more attentive to sites that are periodically producing unique and fresh content. A blog can also provide a way for small businesses to offer solutions to problems that are encountered by customers. This also provides a way to interact with customers via blog comments. 

If your blog is populated with content that is helpful and interesting to visitors, they are likely to interact with you on site, and they will also forward your links to their colleagues and friends. This type of unsolicited publicity will also improve your search engine rankings.

Local Press Releases

Press releases are a great way to get ranked well in news searches that are local.  They can also increase your visibility and generate a local buzz. 

If you have some news worthy information to spread, consider creating a press release, and distributing it. For instance you may have some community involvement, be a sponsor for a local event, or you could be launching a new service or product.

If you hire a writer from a local newspaper to write your press release, it will receive great exposure if a local newspaper picks it up. By including your NAP, you will get a citation and a quality link to your site.  Ensure that you have geo-specific keywords in your press release title. 

Repair Your Backlink Profile 

It’s also a good idea to get regular reports on your backlinks using tools like Majestic SEO and Google Webmaster Tools. You can assign a status to each link and remove any questionable or low quality links. You may want to contact sites and ask them to remove your low quality links. If you can’t get in touch with the webmaster of a site, you can use the Google disavow tool.

To summarise, here are some actions that should should void and others that you should engage in to be more successful, post Penguin 2.0.

Avoid 

  • Link exchanges
  • Paid Links
  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Content Marketing Spam
  • Over Optimisation
  • Duplicate Content
  • Unnatural Backlinks
  • Forum Profile Link Spam 

Engage In 

  • Google Authorship
  • Quality Content Generation
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Diverse Anchor Text Links
  • Local Listings
  • Content Marketing
  • Brand Mentions
  • Remove Low Quality Links
  • Local Business Blogging
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Cameron Francis

Co-Founder

Cameron Francis is the CoFounder & Managing Director of ETRAFFIC, Melbourne's #1 Creative & Digital Marketing Agency. For over a decade Cameron has been providing growth marketing and digital strategies for over 2,000 small businesses, start-ups & entrepreneurs around the country.
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