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Hawk – The Newest Google Update

Apparently, there was an algorithm update at the end of August that impacted the local results. It didn’t affect the non-local organic results. This update is what we dedicate the post of 411 Locals to.
Here is what changed:

Changes occurred in the way of work of the local filter. The history here is that Google actively filters listings from the local results, which look similar to listings that have already ranked. Google chooses the most relevant listing, filtering the rest. This is much like what they do with the duplicate content organically. (Note: Google usually does not confirm algorithm updates, but usually only says that it comes up with several updates every day. These observations, however, are based on the way local results have changed rather than on an official announcement or acknowledgement.)

This filter has existed for some time and helps to make sure the search results are not monopolized by several listings for the same company. In September last year, another update made a significant change to the way of work of this filter. It didn’t just filter listings with the same phone number or website but also listings physically located near one another.
This became extremely problematic for businesses as it meant that of two businesses that were in the same building or even one block apart, one could get filtered out of local search results. Meaning that the competition could inadvertently bump your listing.

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How SEOs and Marketers Should Avoid Penalty for Low-Quality Pages

Today’s topic of 411 Locals is what Google considers to be low-quality pages and what SEOs and marketers should do to avoid them. Let’s start by saying what constitutes quality according to this search engine:

  • Unique content that is more than different words and phrases. The content should also provide value.
  • Lots of external sources editorially linking to a page. If a page is reference-worthy, it must be high-quality.
  • The page must be referenced by other high-quality pages, not just sources or domains linking to this. The links can be internal or external.
  • The page should successfully answer the query of the searcher. How does Google know this? When someone searches for something, they perform the search and then click on a link. If the results are not satisfying to the searcher, they will click back and choose a different result. This is how Google learns a page does not answer the searcher’s query, especially if it happens a lot.
  • High speed of loading.
  • High quality accessibility and intuitive user design and experience on any device – desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet.
  • Content that is grammatically correct and well-spelled.
  • The non-text content should have text alternatives. For this reason, Google encourages the use of the alt attribute.
  • Content which is organized well and is easy to understand and consume. Trust us, they have their ways of knowing this.
  • Content which points to additional sources where from to get more information, follow-up on tasks, or cite sources. What does this are links externally from a page.

The list above is far from exhaustive, but it contains some of the things which tell Google which pages are high quality and which are not.

How SEOs and marketers filter pages on sites to identify whether their quality is high or low.

Here’s what you should NOT overestimate the importance of: (more…)

Balancing Technical and Non-technical SEO

SEO was mostly about coding in its early days. Technical SEO involved the optimization, often manipulation even, of code, metadata, and link profiles, for the sake of achieving better results.

And that hasn’t changed all that much. But today’s article by 411 Locals is dedicated to a more balanced approach between the technical and non-technical ways of website optimization.
Since manipulation and black hat tactics have become dangerous and less effective, they are also less popular right now. This is how the more creative and non-technical SEO tactics came to be. They are designed with the value and relevance of content in mind.

Technical and non-technical tactics should work in harmony since both are important for the excellent condition of your site and the success of your campaigns. The technical part is the framework on which to build great content.

Here are 4 tips that will help you find a good balance between creative and technical:

1. Know the part that technical SEO plays in your organization

In most organizations today, technical SEO is completely separated from development. The departments SEOs work with are:

  • The IT team managing the storage and reception of important data;
  • Web development team;
  • Non-technical SEOs (like link builders and content marketers).

Technical SEOs are kind of mediators among these fundamentally different teams. However, there is a second part of their job, and that is the implementation and adding structure and optimization which help the engines retrieve, index, and rank content. (more…)

Basic SEO Principles Explained by 411 Locals

Many people feel intimidated by SEO as they think it’s hard to keep up with all the latest changes and updates in the field. This is true to a great extent; however, there are certain SEO fundamentals that haven’t changed that much over time. 411 locals dedicates today’s post to these main factors.

Google’s basic principles can be described as:

  • Crawlability – Whether the search engine can find your content.
  • Site structure – How the search engine organizes and prioritizes this content.
  • Keywords – Define the topic of your content.
  • Backlinks – How the search engine knows your content delivers reliable information on a certain topic.

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