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4 Tips To Surviving the Google Penguin Update for 2014

In late May of this year, Google released its newest Google Penguin update for English results. Why another update? According to Link Assistant, “the aim of the update is to provide a more useful, relevant and accurate local search results. And unlike Penguin and Panda updates, this is not a penalty-based update (aimed at cleaning the SERPs (search engine results page) from low-quality content), but a core change to the local search ranking algorithm.”If you are not familiar with Google’s Penguin updates, the following is a great explanation from Search Engine Land. “Google launched the Penguin Update in April 2012 to better catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results, in particular those doing so by buying links or obtaining those through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings. When a new Penguin update is released, sites that have taken action to remove bad links (such as through Google disavow tool or to remove spam may regain rankings). New sites not previously caught might get trapped by Penguin “False Positive,” sites that were not caught by mistake, may escape.”The following key points will give you a better understanding of the update and advice for website owners who have been affected.1. Local listing packs secede for a large number of keywordsThe Skinny – One prominent change since the update is the significant drop in queries that now include a local listing pack of their SERPs.Advice – If your website has experienced a drop in traffic since this change, it may be as a result of the disappearance of certain local listings. To counteract this occurrence, you can cover the traffic losses with a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign during the short-term and focus on obtaining web search listings for those keywords in the long-term.2. Local rankings expected to depend more on site authorityThe Skinny – Local rankings will now be determined by domain authority, backlinks and other SEO ranking factors, according to Link Assistant.Advice – If your website’s local rankings have experienced a sudden drop, this could mean your website’s general SEO properties are falling short behind your competitors. To determine if this is the case and how to remedy the situation, you can perform a thorough keyword competitor research to determine how your website’s backlinks, content, and other SEO characteristics compare to those of higher ranking websites.3. Yelp and other directories experience ranking boostThe Skinny – According to Link Assistant, “Yelp and other directories have seen a considerable boost in rankings. For some queries, the entire SERP is built from well-known directories only.”Advice – Find the most prominent local directories in your industry and list your business within each. To determine which directories should be your priority, track how rankings change for your various listings. (Tip: Sign up for Rank Tracker to easily see where your website ranks in Google and Yahoo. Rank Tracker can also help you by showing if your website has moved up or down in search results, helps you discover profitable keywords, supports more than 325 different search engines, and shows you the best keywords to optimize your website.)4. Local Carousel remains a way to gain additional exposureThe Skinny – What is Local Carousel? According to Search Engine Land, Local Carousel is “a row of images across the top of the Google SERP against a dark background. For now, Carousel contains up to 20 results and appears primarily in results for travel, hospitality, and restaurant queries.” Local Carousel results have not been affected by the update, which means it can still be a useful means to gain additional exposure for some local keywords.Advice – Since Carousel results put a substantial emphasis on your listing’s image and rating, it is important that you feature a high-quality and appealing photo in your Google and business profile. Additionally, you should encourage your client’s to write a review of your business on your Google + page.Possible Sidebar:Best Practices For Local Rankings Improvement From Link Assistant1. Individual Google+ Local Page for your business
2. Proper category for your Google+ Local Page
3. Local area code on Google+ Local Page
4. NAP on your website matching NAP on your Google+ Local Page
5. NAP consistency in all your business listings
6. Large number of positive customer reviews on Google+ Local Page and on third-party sources
7. City or state included in your website’s title tags
8. Product/service keyword in business title