BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

Local SEO Post Penguin 2.0 & Panda Dance Updates

June 26, 2013

Memorial Day weekend turned out to be a big weekend in the SEO world. We discovered that Google rolled out “Penguin 2.0” along with solutions to fix issues caused by the update. Then Google decided to roll out 2 more hard hitting updates on June 11th called the “Payday Loan” update and the “Panda Dance” update. Since we have a database of over 20,000 keywords and 500 domains, we thought we should dissect the results pre-and post updates.

For those sites targeting local/geo-targeted terms, we noticed that the top rankings included Google local listings and were dominated by major local directory sites such as SuperPages, Yelp, YellowPages, Angieslist, etc. In fact roughly 25% of all top 10 results for geo-targeted terms are dominated by these giant sites, and 75% of the time, local keyword results contain Google’s 2-7 Pack. Below is a list of major directories dominating the SERP’s for local terms;

Top 20 websites % Increase in % 4.10% 0.45% 3.66% 0.12% 2.51% 0.36% 1.57% 0.15% 1.19% 0.15% 1.18% 0.16% 1.10% 0.20% 1.09% 0.12%
Google Images / News 1.06% 0.15% 1.04% 0.16% 1.02% 0.13% 0.93% 0.10% 0.50% 0.10% 0.45% 0.07% 0.35% 0.04% 0.32% 0.05% 0.30% -0.02% 0.27% 0.04% 0.26% 0.03% 0.24% 0.24% 0.22% -0.01%

These results validate that Google is now giving more weight to authority sites. The good news is that Google is giving small businesses a chance by awarding them top local listing placement. Small businesses can still obtain organic listings among the national authority sites, however those business have to obtain links from industry specific sites and be an authority or an award winning business in their niche.

Here are some tips to consider when performing local SEO for your business.

  1. Make sure you are listed in all of the above major directories, and if possible, aim to dominate your category in each of those sites.
  2. Make sure you optimize your G+ Business page to the best of your ability, and if possible start posting, sharing pictures and getting reviews on your G+ page.
  3. Make sure you are getting links from industry specific sites. MOST IMPORTANT!
  4. When building links at industry specific sites, don’t aim to get keyword-rich anchor text. Instead, make up for anchor text by getting listed on pages with title tags and URL’s closest to target anchor text.
  5. Rather than putting so much effort into YouTube video optimization, start adding videos to your Google+ page and start optimizing and sharing there. Some results are showing that Google is replacing websites with optimized videos by that site, which isn’t ideal.
  6. Make sure your website is performing the best it can and that people searching for your services don’t feel they have to search anymore. This is playing a major role in how much “dancing” your website does. Many websites are getting on the 1st page of Google for a few days and finding themselves missing for a few weeks. But since they are relevant, they come back up, then they fall again. Very common post Penguin 2.0 & Panda Dance updates.
  7. Make sure your site has business profiles on major sites like G+, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  8. Aim to have at least 80% branded anchor text links. Avoid exact match anchor text linking as much as possible.
  9. When guest blog posting, make title of post and content surrounding the link keyword-rich to make up for NOT exact match anchor texting.
  10. Avoid over-optimization like placing keywords in footers, headers, title tags. These are still good places to add your content and keywords. But there’s a thin line between descriptive and over-optimization.

How to future proof your SEO efforts

Think to yourself, what would a legit business do in order to get found if there weren’t any search engines. You would submit your website to industry directories, local business directories, get connected with industry associations, join niche groups, etc. Then you would network in these places, make friends, present yourself as professionals, etc. to show that you are worthy of business. You wouldn’t just submit to get listed or just to get a link. You would guest post content to authority blogs in your niche because you want to show that you are an authority or know your business so well that you are the one to choose, not because you want a link.

If you want to future proof your SEO efforts, you just have to be sincere in your efforts. You have to want to provide useful information. You have to want to show how awesome your business is where your potential customers are surfing. You have to partner with other companies. You almost want to avoid doing things solely for SEO and ranking purposes. This in turn will improve your rankings and organic traffic. This may sound like a contradiction to SEO services, however it’s not. If you want to improve rankings and organic traffic you just have to remember that Google awards the honest efforts of legit businesses, not the sneaky search engine manipulators.