Anyone who follows SEO developments will be familiar with Google’s tendency to roll out new algorithms every so often. This causes webmasters all around the world to hold their breath as they wait to find out whether these new guidelines will penalize their sites and send them to the bottom of the SERPs. First there was ‘Panda’, then there was ‘Penguin’ and its various iterations leading up to the predicted Penguin 3.0 before the end of this year.
But recently Google snuck in another update that was a little different from those previous ones. This was ‘Google Pigeon’ which was somewhat different in nature to Panda or Penguin, but which is nevertheless very important for any locally based businesses. Read on and we’ll look at what Pigeon involves and what we know about it.
Essentially, Pigeon is an update to Google’s algorithms that focuses specifically on local search results. Unlike Panda and Penguin, Pigeon is not about punitive measures designed to ‘clean up’ the results, but is rather a ‘core change’ to the way that local search results work.
We don’t know much about Pigeon compared to other updates, but we do know the following…
Fewer Local Listings
You may have noticed when using Google in the past that certain search strings would bring up boxes of local listings. In other words, if you search ‘tasty pizza’, this might well bring up pizza joints near you. While this still happens, according to MOZ there has been a drop in the number of results that show these local results.
Authority Plays a Bigger Role
It’s also been suggested that local search algorithms have been brought more closely in-line with regular search algorithms. In other words, sites deemed to be higher in authority will probably be given preferential treatment. If your local business is getting less traffic from Google now, you might want to consider doing some SEO for your site.
Directory Sites Have Seen a Boost
Directories like Yelp which list local businesses have reportedly received a boost. If you’re trying to boost your website’s ranking and thus get more web traffic to your business then, this would be a very good place to start by all accounts.
Citations Are Also More Important
Local citations might also play an important role. This means that your business name/phone number/address is being mentioned (no link necessary) alongside relevant keywords. Here’s a good resource to help demonstrate how this works.
More Things You Can Do for Your Local Ranking
These are some changes that have been reported regarding local businesses on Google following Pigeon. There are also a number of other important things you can do for your local business too. These include:
- Creating an individual Google+ Local page for your business
- Stay consistent when listing your name, address and phone number (NAP)
- Include the location in your title tags
- Connect with other local businesses
- Encourage user/visitor reviews
- Engage in SMO (Social Media Optimization)
- Follow these general SEO tips for local businesses
As always in SEO, there is a little bit of guess work involved when trying to decide on the best way to adapt to the changes brought by Pigeon. But if you use some common sense, play fair and incorporate these changes, you should find that Google’s changes might just give your ranking a lift!