Google has recently released a new algorithm that is targeting local search. Coined “Pigeon,” this update will affect smaller, local businesses and storefronts. Let’s dive deeper and see exactly what this algorithm is set to change…
What Does it Do?
The pigeon algorithm has been created to strengthen the ties between search queries and Google’s deeper capabilities with local search. Google is beginning to notice the importance of local search, and as it’s becoming more popular they have decided to improve the distance and location parameters in local search results. The update will also take into account Google’s Knowledge Graph, spelling corrections, and synonyms. The expectation of this update will provide more useful, relevant, and accurate local search results. You will see the changes in both Google Maps search results and Google Web search results. The algorithm is currently rolling out US English results for now and hasn’t provided any further details about if the update will roll out more widely in other countries and languages.
Most of the update will happen behind the scenes, but it can increase or decrease web referrals and leads for some local businesses. One of the main shifts in this update is that Google is giving more weight to directory listings, such as Yelp and Trip Advisor for search queries. So now expect Google+ listings and Google Local listings to have a direct tie with popular directories and reviews. This means, traditional businesses will have to work harder on local SEO to gain page 1 spotlight.
This isn’t as bad as it sounds for businesses that already have great reviews on popular directories. Basically the bulk of the work is done for you, naturally. If you don’t already have that web presence, one of the first things you can do is find relevant directories and submit your business information. Optimize your Google + or Google Places listing to contain relevant keywords to separate yourself from the competition. Begin to rethink your keyword strategy for local listings as search results are now geo-targeted towards locality. Finally, start to encourage your customers to leave a review about your business on directories and Google itself
No matter what the latest Google Bird may be, there will always be opportunity to sink or swim. Look at it as an opportunity to shine and fly above the competition ranking number one for top keywords. For more information on SEO and how to ensure your business is consistently seen fill out our Contact form today.