Business owners often attempt to advertise to large markets, be it entire nationwide or global. Yet when Google altered its algorithm with the Pigeon update, SEO fundamentals changed, especially in regards to local search. While some small businesses have made adjustments to the scope of their marketing, others have maintained their habits. Failing to adapt to Google’s new search dynamics is a critical mistake, and here’s why.

Beyond the Pigeon Era

Local SEO strategies have significantly changed in our post-Pigeon world. The vast majority of Internet users rely on Google for searches. Google’s changed algorithm calls for the adoption of new strategies. Instead of zeroing in on city search requests, businesses must now focus on a much smaller target range. Narrow your target audience and search terms to specific neighborhoods.

Dissect Cities Into Smaller Pieces

Google’s Pigeon update has altered the geography of search, by dividing cities into distinct neighborhoods. While it seems like a drastic change, it makes sense for localized search results. Think about the last time that you walked or drove through your city. If you paid close attention, you would have noticed the various neighborhoods have distinct, individual identities. As a small business owner, it is imperative that you understand the demographic diversity of your city. Modern cities have remarkable variance in terms of economics, average age, and cultural background.

Re-focus Your Online Marketing Efforts

One of Google’s most significant changes was an emphasis on distance calculations for searches. In most instances, Google decreased the total search radius to produce more focused results that are individually tailored to the searcher’s immediate geography. The result has been a focus on neighborhoods rather than umbrella style “catch all” cities. It also resulted in many businesses losing rank in areas that they had previously reached easily. Adapting to the new search algorithms and re-targeting your advertising efforts is the best way to handle this change.

Target Individual Neighborhoods for Maximum Exposure

Businesses in large to medium sized cities should center their online marketing initiatives around their neighborhood’s name, as well as those that surround it. While it might seem counter intuitive to intentionally abandon a larger scope for your online marketing efforts, it is the most prudent strategy. Those who understand the intricacies of Google’s local search algorithms are zeroing in on actual neighborhoods instead of the city as a whole.

Find out where your business has the most viable geographical showing and search out your neighborhood’s nicknames and synonyms for use in your online marketing efforts. Keep in mind that some people refer to one section of a city as “The Neighborhood Of The Arts”, while others might refer to it as “East End”. Include all of these synonyms to capture the attention of potential customers who use unofficial jargon to refer to the part of town where your business is located.