How will Google Pigeon affect SEO for small businesses?

4587228355_8abf3f6601_zSEO is constantly changing, seemingly on the whims of Google, the world’s most popular search engine. Just a few weeks ago, Google released a new algorithm update, which Search Engine Land has dubbed ‘Pigeon’ (following in the footsteps of previous algorithm updates such as Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird).

The update is targeted at local search, which has a big effect on the SEO success of small, local businesses (i.e. businesses that target a local area such as a cafe, hairdresser, or photographer). As with everything Google does, the algorithm update is shrouded in mystery, but it does appear that inclusion in high quality directory sites is now having an increased effect on the ranking of websites.

All the signals from Google suggest that it’s more important than ever before to submit your business website to relevant directories. These directories will be more well-established than your business website, giving Google a strong SEO signal linked to your site.

But don’t be tempted to add yourself to every directory – there are thousands of low quality directories and directories that will not be relevant to your industry, and Google may penalise you for creating these low-quality links back to your site. Here are the top directories you should consider listing your website in:

You should also consider specialist directories depending on your industry, for example TripAdvisor for restaurants and hotels, and Wahanda for those in the beauty industry.

It’s also important to ensure you optimise your directory listings for the best possible SEO results. Make sure you include your company’s contact information (including phone number, email address, and website) so potential customers can easily get in touch.

Also try to incorporate your chosen search keywords into the description part of your listing, but avoid keyword stuffing. For example, “Yummy’s is a cosy cafe in Broadstairs, serving snacks, cakes, and a range of coffees”, rather than a list of keywords such as “Cafe in Broadstairs, cakes in Broadstairs, coffee in Broadstairs”. Search engines can easily pick up keyword stuffing tactics and penalise you for them, and it can be frustrating for readers to be faced with a nonsensical list of terms when searching for information on your business.

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Kasey writes about the latest small business and website news for bOnline. Find Kasey on Google+, or follow bOnline on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+

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