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Named the Pigeon update by Search Engine Land, this new algorithm “ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more.” But what does this mean for your local business?
Now Coming to a Google Map Near You
The Pigeon update improves Google’s ability to assess sites’ distance and location rankings, so they can make your search more specific than ever before. Mike Blumenthal noted in his research, for example, that the radius of his search was so reduced that he was getting suburb-specific results instead of results from the bigger city nearby.
This can be seen as a move towards hyper-localization for Google search, but the update’s changes are more nuanced: your results will be more precisely targeted to your location, and the top organic results will no longer replicate the pinned local results below. This update gives you a cleaner, more concentrated, and more comparative array of options when you search.
The Pigeon update also aligns Google’s local search ranking factors with their regular ranking factors, so sites that perform well in normal, non-local searches will show higher in these local searches as well. So far, this update benefits local directories in particular: sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and YellowPages are showing up above the pack of local listings, and these directories dominate the first page. This shift may reflect Google’s attempts to avoid duplicate results, but it also looks like a bone thrown to the recently-irate Yelp.
Regardless of its motives, Google’s latest update isn’t reinventing our strategies: they’re reinforcing them. In order to remain strong through this update, we recommend that you:
-Claim and optimize your Google+ page. This page gives Google most of your business’s most important information, including your name, address, phone number, and hours. It also lets Google collect and display all your rave reviews!
- Polish your Yelp page. Yelp is fast becoming one of the top-ranking results for any local business search, so make sure your business information is correct on your Yelp page, and encourage your loyal customers to share how much they love your business.
- Don’t forget your website’s SEO. Because the Pigeon update ties local ranking signals to Google’s regular ranking signals, you can’t afford to ignore your main website’s SEO efforts.
Google has continued to tweak and adjust their algorithm since the update rolled out, which means we don’t know all the implications of the Pigeon update yet. But we doknow that if you have active, engaged, and accurate online listings, like a carrier pigeon, Google will help you bring your brand’s message home.