5 Ways To Rank Better TODAY In The Localized SERPs

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About two months ago, Google rocked the SEO world with one of their biggest “local” algorithm changes to date. From this algorithm change, it is easy to see that Google is working really hard to win the battle against map spam and also working hard to stress the importance of having a strong presence everywhere online, not just the local search arena (Google Places).

This change in the algorithm has negatively impacted many local businesses with little or no online presence except their Place Pages. Many of these businesses thrived on the search traffic driven to their optimized Place Pages, which resulted in phone calls or foot traffic, which in turn increased sales. Today, many of them are left scrambling for a solution that will help them get their revenue from local search back to where it was a few months ago.

Don’t fret small businesses who have been wiped out by this algo update, there are definitely some things you can do today to help get things turned around. Let’s start with five of them.

Put Up A Website & Optimize It For Local Search Queries

If you haven’t noticed, in most cases, the seven pack has been replaced by what is being called the O-Pack (Organic Pack).

This is where Google is putting more emphasis of having a strong presence everywhere online, not just in Google Places. In order to rank well in the O-Pack, you have to have an optimized website that correlates with your Place Page. Each needs to have some credibility and that credibility is gained by link building to your website and building citations to your Place Page. When Google feels each has reached a certain level of credibility, they will “Marry” the two together and rank them in the O-Pack.

Align Contact Data

Keeping your contact data (address & phone number) consistent from your Place Page to your website is a huge factor to ranking well in the local SERPs. There are also many other places on the web where you contact data could be found like the Yelp, Four Square, Etc. You will want to make sure that your contact data is consistent from those properties as well.

Build Links To Your Website

I won’t go into too much detail about link building for your website, however, you need to build up the credibility of your website by building out a well rounded link portfolio and linking to many different pages of your site. I would start with the higher quality links like competitive links and industry/keyword links to get that initial credibility boost from Google, then follow up with links that allow you to laser target your anchor text, like directories and articles.

Build Citations To Your Places Page

Every time I read a blog post about citations, the phrase “citations are the new link” seems to come up. Well, that is because it is true. Again, I won’t go into much detail on citation building, but finding places on the web to reference your contact data (address & phone number) will help build credibility for your Place Page. Here is a great post about citation building.

Link Between Your Website & Place Page

One very simple, but overlooked thing you can do to help increase your rankings in the local SERPs is linking between your Place Page and the associated page on your website. If you were a carpet cleaner in Provo, you would want to link from your Provo web page to your Provo Place Page and vice versa. This strengthens the relationship between the two properties and definitely helps to increase boost your rankings.

Again, these are just a few of the things that small businesses doing SEO can do to start ranking better in the local search landscape. There are many other factors that are considered by Google, however, putting these five things in motion today will help you get your rankings back faster than just sitting idle and wondering what to do now that your revenue is down or completely gone.

If you want to learn more about the recent changes and how to rank better in local, David Mihm will be on #seochat this coming Thursday at 7pm Mountain Time.

Also, I will be presenting on local search marketing during our monthly webinar next week, you can sign up to join the webinar here.

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  1. Nick Stamoulis says

    This change demonstrates that companies of every size, local and national, should have a web presence and be sure to optimize their site. Local listings aren’t going to cut it anymore. If your company doesn’t have a website, the user might think that you aren’t legitimate.

  2. Greg Shuey says


    There are standard lists that can be found, however, I would recommend getting others to supplement the major citation sources. I like the WhiteSpark.ca tool. It helps you find niche citation opportunities to take advantage of.

  3. Javier Vasquez says

    Thanks for this post Greg. I still see a lot of seven pack results in the mix. My assumption is that most, if not all of them will be replaced with the new o pack. At that point, it will be vital for everyone trying to compete in local to have a website.

  4. says

    Thanks for these helpful insights.

    I have a few of my clients who suffered from these updates from Google. All of a sudden, the hard-work done to keep them ranking well on local searches was wasted. I guess, this is a reminder to always diversify your sources of traffic.

    I hope your suggestions/recommendations/tips will work. Will do these strategies to our clients’ websites and hope it helps.

    Thank you!

  5. Dan says

    This article caught my attention right away. I have recognized the importance of google places for some time now as I have seen some local businesses I work with, organically ranking for terms that they otherwise wouldn’t stand a chance at. To me it’s kind of a no brainer to cross link between places and your website. I really hadn’t given it much further thought. But now I can definitely see the potential of going one step further with active citation building. You got me to thinking and I’m already coming up with some ideas for fine tuning this model even further. Timely information is hard to come by in this industry, many thanks for sharing. You really got my wheels turning.

  6. Gareth says

    In the UK i’m still seeing some queries still using the centralized algo e.g. London queries showing results “near Westminster”…this just forces people to start faking addresses.

  7. David says

    First us SEO managers and businesses had to only worry about the website. Then local listings were key, now it’s a merging on both that still favors the local listings. I wonder what is to come…

  8. Sam says

    When it is all said and done just a few new changes in connecting your offine and online campaign can go a long way to help your rankings

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