What is Local SEO?

Local search engine optimization is the practice of continually improving your online visibility to searchers within your region. This concept became an essential practice following the release of Google’s major algorithmic update, Pigeon, which determined that a user’s location was an important factor in providing results with practical application that benefited their overall experience.

Before Pigeon’s release, a user in California searching “emergency plumber” might find the website of a highly-rated plumber in New Jersey as the top result — an outcome that held little value to the Google user or vendor. Pigeon introduced new factors that revolutionized the way people receive search results, incorporating distance and location parameters into their rankings.

That old adage, “location is everything”, holds true in the post-Pigeon age. Simply put, an SEO strategy has no legs if it doesn’t account for local channels. Businesses that ignore this new paradigm in online search will steadily see their digital footprint erased — you need to adapt to local filters to survive.

  • Local SEO agency delivers results relevant to a searcher’s location.
  • Google’s Pigeon update factored user proximity into rankings.
  • A well-rounded SEO strategy must factor in local search.

Local SEO Best Practices

The best practices for local SEO have considerably evolved since Pigeon’s initial release in July of 2014. As Google continues to refine their algorithm and web traffic increasingly moves toward mobile devices, the only effective strategy is one that’s constantly keeping pace with the industry.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the basic building block of local search, NAPname, address, & phone number. Commonly referred to as a ‘local citation’, this cornerstone functions very much like a traditional backlink. Fundamentally, the more often your business’ profile is posted online — whether through local directories like Yelp, external sites or elsewhere — the more your business is associated with a specific region. Local citations are the driving force to becoming relevant in your area.

To this end, it’s essential your business has a physical locale to promote. Bear in mind that NAP must remain consistent — variances in name, address, & phone number make it difficult for Google to associate local citations with your business.

Begin your local SEO campaign by registering with Google My Business and build outward. Create exceptional local-focused content to better engage your target audience.

Benefits of Local SEO

There are tremendous benefits in optimizing your local web presence. It ultimately boils down to extending your reach while creating an easier way for potential and returning customers to engage your brand. Digital Current will develop a tailored strategy for your business, branding you as a local authority and honing in on the type of traffic that leads to conversions.


Overview of Pigeon

Google is constantly making changes to their algorithm to improve the user experience and adapt to the way people find information online. On July 24th, 2014, Google released a major update, codenamed Pigeon, which would dramatically change the industry.

Google deduced a user’s location was an important factor when delivering results that support the user experience.  Prior to this revolutionary concept, the top result a Google user would see was the site best optimized around that term, regardless of its location. Following this logic, it’s safe to assume a Google user in New York searching for “affordable car repair” wouldn’t find much value from a website for an affordable auto clinic in Kansas — and vice versa.

Pigeon provided the intelligent solution.  Upon its release, Google indicated that Pigeon created closer ties between local & core algorithm functions, signifying local search now shared similar capabilities as traditional web search. New factors like distance and location ranking parameters

  • Pigeon went into effect July 24th, 2014.
  • Search results were influenced by the user’s location.
  • Proximity became a major ranking factor.

How It Works

While the key ranking factors behind Google’s update haven’t been made public, post-Pigeon data tells enough of the story for us to read between the lines.

When Pigeon went live, Google’s massive index of sites was suddenly influenced by hundreds of local ranking signals — for better or worse. Whereas local directories like Yelp saw a tremendous boost in visibility, many other sites plummeted in traffic overnight. Sites that relied on queries that would significantly vary by location — jobs, real estate, movies — were hit the hardest.

In the world of Google, you either adapt or fade away. It’s more important than ever to include local search as part of your marketing strategy.

Optimizing for Pigeon

The basic building block behind local search is NAP, or name, address, phone number. Keeping the business’ profile consistent is essential for this branch of SEO. The more often your NAP is cited online, the more visible you’ll be among local search results.

Every local campaign should begin by posting business in Google My Business. Seek out additional local directories and make sure to incorporate exceptional, local-focused content. To get the most out of local SEO, contact Digital Current for a solution tailored to your unique situation.