Y’all know Google is the innovation nucleus of the internet marketing. With the growing demand for precision in results, Google keeps enhancing viewer experience. Google Pigeon- the code name given to one of its local search algorithm updates was released back in July 2014 and so far a lot has come off in this front. The update has been able to increase the ranking of local listing in a search result page.
The pigeon update was an algorithm launched to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. Google had the objective to improve their distance and location ranking parameters. Initially it was released in US English results and later on was released in other languages and locations too.
The changes affected the search results that show up in Google Maps along with the Google search results. The update now smoothly provides results based on the user location and listing available in the local directory. Let’s look at how it affected the search results:
- It provided preference to local search results which was very useful for the user and local businesses around the world.
- At first, it received mixed feedback. Some webmasters noted that the update failed to impact local listings, rather they were decreasing altogether. But over the time, previous rankings improved drastically in the search.
- The local directory listings are now getting preferences in the web results making it a successful search strategy for Google SERP.
- Pigeon was integrated deeper into the previous algorithm that leveraged Google’s capabilities to include hundreds of ranking signals that it uses.
- This also gave way to other features such as knowledge graph, spelling correction, synonyms and many more.
How is Google Pigeon Different From the Other Updates So Far?
To improve the quality of local searches Google Pigeon update relied on the factors such as location and distance to provide better search results to the user. This update altered the local listings in the search results, along with this; the local directory sites were given preference. This step gave a major push for local businesses to reach on the World Wide Web and expand target.
Unlike other updates like Panda or Penguin that altered the content filters, it directly affected local search results making them more useful, relevant and accurate. Also, Pigeon update isn’t a penalty-based update, but a core change to the local search ranking algorithm, which makes it different from the other Google updates that are done to clean the SERPs from low-quality content.
Some alterations seen after the Pigeon update and how it’s apparent even today:
- Local listing packs disappeared for a huge number of keywords. One of the key changes seen after the update was a drastically lowered number of queries that included a local listing pack on their SERPs. Some websites encountered a traffic drop due to the disappearance of certain of their local listings. Marketers had to make up for the lost traffic with a PPC campaign in short- run and thereafter, focusing on getting web search listings for the lost keywords.
- Local rankings depended more on website authority. As said before, this new local search algorithm was tied with the traditional web search ranking signals. This meant that thereon, local rankings would be determined by domain authority, backlinks and all kinds of other SEO ranking factors. So if someone’s ranking dropped with immediate effect, it indicated that their site’s general SEO characteristics lacked behind against their competition. Even as today, if this happens with you, run a thorough competition research to see how your backlinks, content and other SEO characteristics stand to those of other high ranking websites.
- Yelp and other local directories saw boost in their rankings. This happened because for some queries, the entire SERP was built from well known local directories. This made it crucial to build a solid business presence on such leading local directories of your particular industry. Even today, even if less of your potential clients now be able to find your business website directly, many more would be able to spot you via your multiplying occurrence in local directory sites.
- Local carousel remained a major way to gain that extra exposure. Unlike the usual local listing packs, local carousel results remained unaffected by the Pigeon update and showed up with almost the same frequency as before. This meant they were still a great way to gain extra exposure for some local keywords, though carousel listings present for as low as 1% of keyword queries. But they still count for something, don’t they Because such results put a heavy emphasis on your listing’s image and rating, all the while showing options side-by-side. This is why, marketers should ensure a nice, high- quality and attractive photo in their Google+ business profile and encourage customers to review their business.
Here’s a quick guide for you to improve your local rankings:
- Create a Google+ Local page for your local business for being included in the Google’s local index and verify ownership of your listing. Remember to complete your verification by entering the pin number sent by Google.
- Properly categorize your business to appear in the desired search results.
- Use local area code phone number as a primary phone number on Google as well as Local Page. It should match with the city of your location, be sure of that.
- NAP on your website should match the NAP on your Google+ Local Page as Google will cross reference your name, address and phone number linked to your Google Places while looking at your website.
- There should be NAP consistency in your business listings and local directories.
- A large number of positive reviews always influence on your local search rankings. Encourage your happy customers to leave a positive review about your business.
- You should have city or state in your website’s title tags in your local landing page.
- Additionally, including the name of your core product or service in your business name may always leverage you against your competitors who don’t have it.
There’s a lot Google can do in improving your business health. Go explore!