Gene Maryushenko's avatar

Local SEO is supposed to be easy, at least that's what I thought when I was first introduced to the concept. The fact that organic factors weren't too much at play was good news for small businesses who simply didn't have the resources to compete. All that has changed in 2014.

The Changing Landscape

The recent Local Search Ranking Factors survey has shed some light on the changes that made a fairly simple process an entirely different beast. If there is one thing we notice from the seemingly complex ranking factors list, it's the shift of organic signals to local algorithms. Domain authority, link quality and your typical organic factors measured by user behavior are all playing a huge part in the new search results. Several experts have noted the growing significance of behavioral factors such as click-through rates, clicks on directions, pogo-sticking and so on.

Phil Rozek made a comment that reflected my personal opinion: “Google reviews do seem to help rankings, in my experience. I don’t know whether it’s a direct benefit or an indirect one (because reviews help click-throughs). Not that it matters. The benefits are ridiculous and many.”

Our own Darren Shaw is likely onto something when [...]

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Nyagoslav Zhekov's avatar

Unravelling the Mystery of Bad NAP Data

Posted Aug 25, 2014 by Nyagoslav Zhekov in Local SEO, Citation Building

Incorrect business information online is much more frequently encountered than correct business information online, and one of the main reasons for this is the way the business data flows through the ecosystem.


Problems with the Business Data Exchange System

Business data flows unidirectionally – from a small oligopoly of business data providers to an enormous number of online platforms ranging from GPS navigation systems, through Internet yellow pages (IYPs), to mobile applications of any sort. Unfortunately, the technological and data-exchange-related relationships between the business data providers and the business data receivers are not always as straightforward as everyone interested in finding correct business information online would have liked them to be. There are two main issues:


1) Business data is not transferred in real time.

Normally, the data receivers are “fed” the data or they “pull” the data at certain time intervals. The latter are most frequently between 1 and 6 months long. This means that if certain business data has been updated in a business data provider’s database it might make its way to a data receiver (for instance, a GPS navigation system) no sooner than 1 month after it has been originally updated in the source.


2) Business data updated in the [...]

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Darren Shaw's avatar

Welcome, Matthew Weiss!

Posted Aug 6, 2014 by Darren Shaw in Whitespark

Matthew WeissWe're super excited to welcome Matthew Weiss to our development team. Matt has over 5 years of web application development experience and is a JavaScript expert who regularly attends JavaScript conferences around the world. He's also a regular Mike Holmes when it comes to home renovations. 

We have SOOOO many projects we'd like to develop at Whitespark, so we're thrilled to be working with another pro developer to help us add new features to our existing tools and to help us develop more tools. Welcome Matt!

PS: We're still looking to hire one more developer, so if you know anyone that might be interested, please let them know!

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Travis Van Slooten's avatar

Rejoice...The Local Pack Is Near Me!

Posted Jul 29, 2014 by Travis Van Slooten in Local SEO

As a Project Manager here at Whitespark, I'm usually knee deep in implementing a bunch of SEO strategies for our LocalSpark clients. I'm usually not the guy around here that digs into the algorithm to see what has changed from one update to another. Let's just say I'm not the one around here that's going to tell you something new about the algo. I leave that sort of research and discovery to Darren and Phil. But on this day I found myself doing a number of searches for a Realtor we're working with to see if anything was triggering the local pack, and lo and behold, I stumbled upon something that even Darren thought was worthy of a post. What's the saying…even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while? Prior to the algo update on July 25th, there were many broad real estate keyword phrases that would trigger the local pack. Keywords like "real estate Minneapolis" or "realtors Minneapolis" would trigger the local pack all day long. That is no longer the case since the update. It seems like nothing triggers the local pack for real estate agents…well at least not until [...]

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Darren Shaw's avatar

We're Seeing a 23.4% Drop in Local Packs

Posted Jul 29, 2014 by Darren Shaw in Local SEO

You probably heard that Google rolled out a new local algorithm that puts more emphasis on traditional web ranking signals. You probably also heard that Mozcast was reporting a massive 60% decline in search terms that returned local packs. Mike Blumenthal reported yesterday that the data in this drop could be skewed by the way Mozcast collects its local data by using the "near" parameter. Our Local Rank Tracker doesn't use the near parameter - it sets the location just like how someone would in their browser - so, we dug into our data to see if we could get a clearer picture on the actual drops. 

The algorithm update happened on July 25th. Here's data from our rank tracker showing the difference in local packs before and after:

Thursday July 24th: 448,088 search terms returned local packs Friday July 25th: 343,127 search terms returned local packs.

That's a 23.4% drop in local packs.

People have been reporting fluctuation in these results though. One day the term will not show a local pack, and the next day the local pack will be back. We pulled data over the past week to see this just how much fluctuation there is. Here's the [...]

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