As it was revealed on Thursday that Google has just launched the new ‘Pigeon’ update, a name coined by the team at Search Engine Land, was earlier not regarded as a major algorithm change, however its significance was later established as being relatively high due to its major implications to users who were initially ranking in the top positions across the search engine.
The general outline of the update was to do with Google Local results which has been under scrutiny ever since Yelp has accused Google of manipulating its search results to show Google’s own local listings and content ahead of Yelp pages even when users specifically included “Yelp” in their searches.
However, with this new update Google has solved this conundrum and local directory sites are getting better visibility in Google’s search results than it was before. Yelp’s reports looked at search terms with the word ‘yelp’ included and showed how Google listed the official website first, along with several links to Google+ content such as reviews and its Google+ pages before yelp’s relevant pages.
Overall, though, it looks like Yelp and other local directory-style sites are benefitting with higher visibility after the Pigeon update, at least in some verticals. And that seems logical since, as Google said, this update ties local results more closely to standard web ranking signals. That should benefit big directory sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor — sites that have stronger SEO signals than small, individual restaurants and hotels are likely to have. For those businesses and websites, local search has just gotten a lot more difficult.
To shine some more light on the ‘Pigeon’ update, we have highlighted the changes you may notice in the coming days and what website owners can do who have been affected.
Local Listing packs disappear for a major chuck of keywords:
One of the changes that users will notice would be the lower number of queries that show up in the local listing pack on their SERPS.
In the last couple of days if there has been a drop in your traffic, it is probably because some of your local listing disappearing.
From there on, you have two options, one more suitable for the short term and one for the longer period. Immediately, users should start thinking about starting a PPC campaign to re-gain the loss of traffic your website has encountered, and for a long term solution it would require you to register to certain Web Search Listings for your targeted keywords.
Local Rankings will need to be well optimised and have a higher authority.
As more observations are being made, it is said that the new local search algorithm is tied with the traditional Web search ranking signals, which essentially means that the local rankings will now be based upon your SEO ranking factors such as domain authority, Backlinking and how well you have optimized those pages. In other words, will now be looked under the same light as the Organic results.
If you find your local rankings have disappeared, it probably means that those web pages that were previously ranking lacked the SEO factors required to stay on top and thus have been taken over by your competitors.
Using RankWatch, you can measure this exact thing and gain an insight into what your competitors are doing differently in terms of the various SEO factors required.
Secondly, as I mentioned earlier in the post, Yelp and other Local directories are now benefitting from the ‘Pigeon’ update where they are receiving precedence over other business websites and enjoying a greater share of SERP visibility.
Clients may not be able to land on your business website directly, but it makes it even more important to have a strong presence on these local directories to make up for the loss in direct traffic.
The ‘Pigeon’ update has not affected the local carousal results, which remains to be an excellent way to get extra exposure for some local keywords. Although, these results only appear for 1% of all keyword phrases, it can still make a big difference if the image is appealing to users and used correctly. Once you create a Google+ Business profile, encourage users to review your business as well.
To check any significant changes for your keywords on Google local listings, RankWatch, an SEO management solution to all website owners and digital agencies can be extremely beneficial to track any rank fluctuations that have taken place in the last few days. The platform has incorporated a mechanism to check ranks that have been affected with the Pigeon update and can inform users instantly when their local rankings have been localized!