Indeed it can!
Great news for those who have prioritized mobile-friendliness to make their websites rank. But for those who haven’t yet, Google’s upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm is also gracious to webmasters. Once launched, it’s going to update its results in real time; boosting ranks for web pages that just switched to mobile-friendly elements. But there’s another awesome catch: you know those top ones and twos on SERPs? Well, if you play your local SEO cards right, you can OUTRANK them.
A Case Analysis
One of the most interesting (and lucrative) industries today is cleaning services. As of 2015, this sector is composed of more than 800 thousand businesses, with 1.4 percent annual growth. That gives it an annual combined revenue of more than $50 billion. Wow. Who knew people enjoyed being clean so much! The Janitorial industry is so much more than just maid services though. This sector also handles dry cleaning, carpet and upholstery, floor care, as well as aircraft and marine cleaning services.
As competition is tough, it’s important for cleaning service companies to be visible at all times – especially on the Web. So for our little analysis, we compiled the top four sites under the keywords ‘cleaning services NYC’ and ‘commercial cleaning services NYC’ to know what their secret is. What makes them rank? Are they doing something different than other sites? Will the upcoming mobile algorithm hit them? To answer our questions, we created a checklist of the most important local SEO factors to consider based on two categories: on- and off-site metrics.
- What type of content are they using?
- Are they using proper onsite elements (h-tags, meta descriptions, titles, etc.)
- How are they optimizing their images?
- Do they have a blog? If so, is it updated?
- Do they have a sitemap?
- How is their site loading speed?
- Is NAP (name, address, phone number) present?
- Do they have broken links?
- Is their website MOBILE-FRIENDLY?
- How many quality backlinks do they have?
- What is their Page Authority?
- How strong are their social signals?
Aside from these quantitative factors, we also studied the uniqueness of their pages through:
- Content relevance
- Visual design
- Content organization
While the little things (such as onsite elements) can easily be remedied by going on their respective CMS, things such as NOT being mobile-friendly could hurt them. On top of that, two of the websites we analyzed lacked sufficient social signals on the top social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, G+).
But Why Are They Still Ranking?
Websites rely on multiple factors for ranking. In the case of these New York cleaning services, their stats were awesome on four vital aspects:
- Number and quality of backlinks (links after all, are still the heart of SEO)
- NAP (it’s important to have consistency (so customers can easily find – and trust – you)
- Domain Authority (these four websites have been on the Web a long time)
- Local reviews and testimonials (the best social proof of all)
It’s great that these companies do well in terms of local SEO – but if they don’t embrace mobile-friendliness, they could be outranked. That’s because the mobile algorithm update is said to be BIGGER than the Panda and Penguin updates combined. It’s a huge risk for them to stay the way they are; but this is a good opportunity for lower ranking sites to see if they can outrun the competition (good luck!).
It’s Time To Level Up The Playing Field
If you own a local cleaning service in the busy NYC, we bet you’re all smiles at this news. There’s even more reason to celebrate if you took the initiative and optimized your pages for mobile use. Just make sure to check the top four ranking elements again to see if you missed anything. For instance: if you’re lacking quality backlinks, it’s time to gain some now. Here are several more tips to begin gaining a winning advantage:
Avoid automatic link generation as it’s not only illegal, it can hurt whatever good rankings you have now! Instead, gain your links by producing awesome, inspiring content. Try including a blog in your website (if you haven’t yet), OR submitting content to high-traffic sites.
While napping certainly can boost performance at wrk, don’t forget to provide updated information on your website and local profiles. Your business name, address, and phone number should be the same. Otherwise, you risk being viewed as fake.
Aside from quality backlinks to help boost your DA, link related pages within your site. This strategy not only improves ranking, it also helps in easier user navigation.
Signup to review sites like Yelp and encourage customers to leave sterling testimonials! While some people will not like your business, you can balance out negative reviews if you have more good reviews. So focus on your customer experience to get those five stars!
Optimize For Mobile Today
These are definitely exciting times for local SEO. Google’s recent algorithm updates, which included the Pigeon, reinforce their commitment to putting local businesses first. If you’ve done your homework on all on-and offsite metrics of your website EXCEPT mobile-friendliness, then it’s never too late to start. Talk to your in-house web developer OR get expert web design services to work on your pages. Make sure your changes are SEO-ready for easy marketing afterwards.
If you need additional assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a New York SEO consultant.