It’s been a little while since the Google Pigeon update was rolled out. So what has changed – and how have businesses updated their SEO strategies to meet this new update? Over the past year, a lot has changed in terms of search engine optimization. But, sadly, a lot of SEO marketing firms are still doing it wrong. Pigeon was a confusing update and it asked SEO professionals to break some of their long-ingrained local optimization habits. Habits and tactics that used to work so well can be very hard to break.  Here are some of the SEO strategies that should change in the post-Pigeon era of local SEO.

Stop Focusing On Cities, Instead Target Neighborhood Searches

One of the biggest algorithmic shifts around Penguin was the way that the geolocation feature was redesigned. Instead of identifying cities as a single geographical entity, the Penguin update split them up into neighborhoods. Since Google reduced the search radius for local results, small local businesses wigoogle-blueg-algorithm-seo-ss-1920-800x450ll do much better if they focus on the locations closest to them, unless they are trying to reach a broad audience. For example, a dentist in Pasadena would be better using the SEO search term “Pasadena dentist” than “Los Angeles dentist” or “Southern California dentist”. This will net them much better results in getting new local customers, as the Google search radius has shrunk. You can still use a city, region or state in your best SEO practices, but adding hyper-local SEO keywords has never been more important – or effective.

Optimize Your Directory Placement for the Top-Ranked Directories

Directories still play an important role in local SEO, but that role has shifted. Some directories are valuable – and some are, well, NOT. How do you know which are the best directories to be listed in? That takes a little homework and SEO strategy.  Try to get listed in the directories that are ranking the highest. For example, let’s say you own a restaurant. You need to be focusing on the online directories that draw the most traffic. For restaurants, these are Yelp, Open Table, Trip Advisor and Urban Spoon. Each industry has its own directories that will be most effective. A digital marketing agency can help you identify those key directories.

You Need a Solid Content Marketing and Link-Earning Strategy

Local SEO focuses on citations, NAP consistency, and reviews. But that’s not enough to round out a solid SEO strategy.  A lot has changed in SEO, but one thing has not: domain authority, content and links are still king. Experts at Noxster, a leading LA SEO company, estimate that on-page signals are responsible for close to 25% of local ranking factors. Those “on-page signals” include traditional SEO features, like keywords in the title, the domain authority of the page, and the presence of SEO optimized content.