SEO Code Innovation: Local SEO and Google’s Doorway Page Update
Targeting Local SEO After Google’s Doorway Page Update
Way back in March of 2015, Google released its Doorway Page Update specifically targeted at websites trying to gain rankings using pages that Google deemed added no real value to search experience. In local SEO, this was a search tactic used years ago to rank for specific terms of “[Keyword + City]”. Here at City Ranked Media we tested and used this strategy on a few websites with some success, but quickly moved away from it understanding these were nothing more than “Doorway Pages”, something that Google frowned upon.
In the second quarter of 2015, City Ranked Media began testing how we could send signals to the search engines that a client served a specific geographic area, even when the client didn’t have a brick and mortar location in that area. The specific challenge was for service-based industries, such as pest control or plumbing companies, that would or could service customers in person in their area.
Introducing the City Ranked Media Geo-Block
After much testing, revisions, and refinement, City Ranked Media launched beta testing on the City Ranked Media Geo-Block. This block was designed to send city-specific data to search engines for important services a client provided, reinforcing with the search engine that the client served specific cities. The code, structure of the code, schema markup, and position of the code relative to other website elements was continually tested and refined to ultimately achieve desired results in first page rankings for pages the City Ranked Media Geo-Block was inserted on.
Initially the programming staff at City Ranked inserted this specific code directly into the website code for testing purposes. Later, after successfully completing beta testing, our programming staff created a WordPress plugin for easier and more standardized implementation for all City Ranked Media clients. The beta testing on this plugin and its effects for local SEO rankings were great enough that City Ranked Media copyrighted the code behind the Geo-Block.
City Ranked Media Geo-Block Local SEO Results
During beta testing, City Ranked Media tested this new programming on Enterprise Level SEO clients in several markets across the United States to get a broad set of data to compare. Clients in the following markets were tested:
- Las Vegas
- North Carolina (rural)
- Vancouver, WA
During initial testing, modest improvements were seen in rankings for longer tail keywords. Code, positioning, and front end aesthetics of the Geo-Block were revamped to be more search engine friendly, and more understandable for Google’s Quality Raters.
After revamping the Geo-Block’s code and front-end looks, clients participating in the beta testing began to see positive movement in rankings. In some cases, rankings increases were minimal at first, but as Google continued to crawl all changed pages with the new code, landing page began to see major improvements. In fact, many of these pages achieved first page rankings for cities outside of the client’s normal SEO footprint.
Sample Results (click to enlarge)
Future Enhancements to The City Ranked Media Geo-Block
We’re already hard at work utilizing this new code to enhance and affect Local SEO based upon GPS location.