Google has rolled out several local algorithm updates over the past several years. The 2014 “Pigeon” update gave a boost to local directory listings, prompting SEOs to focus on building accurate and comprehensive citations on a variety of general and industry-specific directory sites. The 2016 “Possum” update appeared to put more importance on the geolocation (proximity to the searcher). SEOs responded by building out local content and promoting local events. In 2019, Google rolled out BERT – a form of AI designed to enable Google to better understand user intent and provide more accurate results for conversational queries.
What Comes Around, Goes Around
Today, the latest on the local search front is that Google is testing a “Find Results Carousel” in Europe. The search results featured in this new carousel (see below example from BrightLocal) are comprised of mostly directories.
This is not surprising given the high authority of quality directory sites like Yelp (Domain Authority of 93), Apple Maps (Domain Authority of 100), YellowPages (Domain Authority of 88), etc. However, it should send a clear message to local businesses – make sure your directory listings are in order!
Claim and Optimize
At periscopeUP, we’ve never departed from directory work for local search projects. It’s an important part of the overall service that we provide in order to help maximize visibility for clients. If you find that you need to refocus efforts on directory listings for your business, here are some tips to get you started:
- Claim as many existing listings as possible so that you (and not a competitor or the general public) will control the content of (and changes to) your business listings.
- Ensure all current listings contain accurate information, right down to punctuation, abbreviations, suite number, etc.
- Ensure all current listings are complete – this means adding content beyond basic contact information. Directories vary in terms of the information that may be provided, but here are some items to consider adding wherever possible: hours, photos, service area (if appropriate), a map marker, product descriptions and images, service specialties, a complete description that includes details on where your business is located, year established, number of staff, manager or founder bio.
- Once you’ve finished claiming and optimizing existing listings, look for additional industry-specific or quality niche directories and start building additional listings.
- Seek customer reviews. Current, positive reviews from real customers add legitimacy and provide “social proof” to potential customers.
Looking for ways to improve visibility and engagement? Give us a call today at 443.475.0787 or Contact Us online.