Has your business recently seen a change to your rankings or referrals? If so, you are not alone.
On July 24, 2014, Google released an update to their local search algorithm, coined the “Pigeon” update by Search Engine Land. The changes are visible within Google Maps search results and Google Web search results. The update aims to provide a more useful and relevant experience for searchers seeking local results.
"Pigeon" update and its effect on businesses
Prior to the update, searching for a local business would result in a Google Carousel or pack of results followed by a list of organic results or individual business listings. After the update, you will see directories such as Yelp, Urbanspoon or Groupon followed by organic results further down or even on page two of the search results.
For directories, this update was a good thing. For local businesses with low SEO signals, this update was not as good. Small businesses will likely notice an effect on their rankings. Therefore, local businesses may have to work harder to come out on the top of searches.
However, your business may not show up as often on local searches as before, but the relevancy of your exposure may increase as those finding your business are even more qualified than before.
Combating the "Pigeon" update
If you don’t already have a Google page for your business, create one so that your business will appear in local and carousel results. If you do have a page, ensure that your information is current to increase leads through local search results.
With the focus of organic search results shifting from individual business websites to directory sites, find the directories that appear for relevant search queries and ensure that your business is listed on each of them, to increase the odds of your business being found.
If your industry keywords are no longer resulting in the local 7-pack, focus on organic SEO to make sure that you are appearing in the organic results.
If your local ranking drops as a result of the update, you probably need to develop stronger Organic SEO signals – on-page optimization, backlinks, etc. – to supplement your local optimization.
It is key for businesses to be as informative and helpful as possible with the information that they provide on their websites. Keep online info such as business hours, pricing, business type, etc. up to date to ensure traffic and referrals, and finally, encourage reviews from your customers.
The Google “Pigeon” update may mean added work for your business to show at the top of search results, but it definitely helped directories visibility. The key is to stay current with organic SEO, business information on your website and ensure that you are listed in all relevant directories.
Carnduff, B. (2014, August 1). Google Updates Local Search Algortithm. Retrieved from Brent Carnduff Accessible SEO: http://blog.echelonseo.com/goolge-updates-local-search-algorithm-pigeon-update/
Dunham, M. (2014, August 4). Local Business Marketing. Retrieved from Signpost: http://blog.signpost.com/google-pigeon-algorithm-update-local-listing-business/
HigherVisibility. (2014, August 1). Local Marketing and the Google Pigeon Update. Retrieved from Small Business Trends: http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/08/local-marketing-google-pigeon-update.html
Schwartz, B. (2014, July 24). Google "Pigeon" Updates Local Search Algorithm With Stronger Ties to Web Search Signal. Retrieved from Search Engine Land: http://searchengineland.com/google-makes-significant-changes-local-search-ranking-algorithm-197778