What can you do to combat the Local Algorithm Shift?
Focus on all the ways you can show up for local search results. Here is the anatomy of the current local search query in Google search results:
Google Adwords - The easiest way to show up on local listings is pay for placement in Google Adwords. Depending on what a customer is worth to you will dictate how much you spend per click. Calculate the LifeTime Value of a Customer multiple it by your conversion rate and you have your max cost per click. i.e. $100 x 2% = $2 Max CPC
Google My Business - The second easiest way to show up for local search queries is to register your business with Google My Business. This is a free service offered by Google. This is were Google changed the local algorithm from a 7 pack of listings to only 3 listings as you can see in the screenshot. Support your Google+ account with 100s of other local directory listings to improve your ranking in Google local search results.
Yelp - Google favors Yelp for local search queries. As you can see in the screenshot there are 3 listings that top the organic section of the local search query. Yelp is free to join and they even send you a weekly update of your listing if you claim your business. Some search queries will list yellowpages.com, whitepages.com and foursquare. Don't forget to submit your local listing to the top 4 databases that distribute local listings to 100s of local directories to capture more local search visibility.
Website SEO - The last thing you can do to capture customers from local search queries is optimize your Website with SEO-Friendly URLs, title tags, body content & as many good links as you can find.
It is important to do all 4 tactics to capture visibility in local search results. Never know when Google will decide to change the algorithm and you want to have all your bases covered.
Thank you for this good information. It is worth noting that the slant to Yelp is regional. If you search "Omaha Plumber" for example Yelp does not display on the first page. While Yelp is free to list their sales tactics in pushing their paid services border on the unethical.
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