Local SEO Search Rankings and Google’s Pigeon

Anyone in the Search Engine world knows that Google keeps moving the goal posts of traditional SEO, but now they are starting on the Local Results too, something that hitherto really was more about how close you were to the thing you were looking for (as least where Google thought you were anyway).

The lastest change has been dubbed Pigeon, and at the time of writing only effects USA sites, but there is no doubt that once proven it will be rolled out to the UK.

So the issue must be what to expect and what you can do to reduce the likelihood of being penalised? We found this article on the web and thought it would be useful to you all. It’s quite a long read, but is worth the effort in the end.

A part of the article can be seen below, the URL of the full article can be found at the end.

Google released an algorithm update at the end of July intended to improve the relevance and accuracy of local search results. The update, dubbed Pigeon by search industry news publisher Search Engine Land, has impacted Google’s traditional web search results and Google Maps results. This is big news if your ecommerce has a local brick-and-mortar presence or a store locator feature.
What Is Google’s Pigeon Update?

Pigeon ties local search results more strongly to standard web ranking signals, including the hundreds of ranking signals that analyze a page’s relevance and authority signals. Other Google web search features like Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, and synonyms will also impact local search results. On top of all of these changes, Google has also improved traditional local signals like distance and location ranking parameters.

The inclusion of more traditional web search ranking signals in local search means that local directory sites and guides have better visibility in Google’s search results. Yelp, Yellowpages.com, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, and even local directory-style sites are enjoying stronger visibility and rankings due to the Pigeon update in some verticals and for some search phrases.

These directory-style sites are typically structured in such a way that they tend to naturally send stronger signals for generic, non-branded searches like “hardware store Chicago” or “restaurants in Seattle.” They also tend to have more authority due to the many links and mentions from other sites.

Pigeon has seemingly also resolved an embarrassing Google public relations issue in which search queries that specifically contained the word “Yelp” returned Google map listings before Yelp listings.
Google hasn’t made an official public announcement, but a statement from Google to Search Engine Land indicated that Pigeon only impacts U.S. searches at this point. Google hasn’t released figures on the percent of searches that will be impacted by the update, as it typically does with publicly announced algorithm updates. There’s no word yet about when the update will roll out to other countries.

How to Combat the Pigeon Update

If the Pigeon update did impact your ecommerce site’s performance, the store locator section likely saw the majority of the performance impact. Because the store locator is the primary link between your digital marketing efforts and getting sales through the door at the stores, this can be a real problem. The solution is three-fold:

• Optimize local content on your site as you would any content meant to drive SEO performance;
• Optimize the data flowing into directory sites;
• Optimize your presence in Google+.

Click the link for the full article on Google’s Local Search Pigeon Update