As of July of 2014 Google changed its rankings system to give more weight to online sites like local directories, maps, and review sites. Google is continuously exploring new ways to make their algorithm produce the most organic, relevant, and original information possible, and they’ve tweaked it to produce what they believe their users will find most helpful. With Pigeon, company websites now frequently rank below their Yelp (or other directory) listings. For businesses that have invested considerable time beefing up content on their own sites and neglecting off-site presence, this is not a welcome change.
If, due to Pigeon, map results and directory listings push your website down the page or even off page 1, opportunities and sales vanish. Fortunately, as with every algorithm update, there are ways to compensate, largely by accommodating the wishes of Google. In this case, businesses need to identify off-site venues and strengthen their presence there. Like this:
- Set up a Google My Business account. This is free and will allow you to claim your business and establish it on Google maps as well as offer further useful information that will be available on future Google searches.
- Add your business to local directories like Yelp! There are many, many directories, so it’s important to identify the valuable ones that customers are looking for. They can then find detailed, customized information about your company including hours of operation, photos and videos, and your website URL.
- Solicit reviews from your customers. While many directories guard against fake or spammy reviews, they want to gather real information from users about their experiences with the marketplace. Many businesses offer incentives to customers who leave online reviews. Adding a request to your online or printed newsletter, your website, and any email releases is one way to jumpstart this process. Eventually, if you run either a great or terrible business, you will get reviews on your products or services.
- Interact with your customers online via these directories or review sites. Dealing with negative reviews can be tricky, requiring the use of patience and tact. We’ve gone over our tips for dealing with negative online reviews before. It’s important to note here that people do take feedback into account and a proactive business will get ahead of any criticisms promptly and make sure their customers are satisfied to the extent that it is possible.
Using the above steps, it should be straightforward to address and gaps in your SEO strategy to date and get your online rankings up again. We at Corporate Conversions would love to help you beat back your competition and increase your rankings and sales. If you would like assistance setting up your profile on directories and review sites, contact us today.