It’s been said that the only constant in life is change. When it comes to Google, this saying is even truer. It’s estimated that Google changes its algorithms 500-600 times per year. Most of these changes are minor; but last July Google updated it’s search algorithms that affect local listing and organic search results into what is arguably the most significant change in the last two years. This update has been code named “Pigeon” by the creative thinkers at Google.
Google has given us Pigeon- here are some of the changes that have been made.
First is a solution to the so-called “Yelp” problem. See back in the day, when you did a search for a business and included Yelp in the actual search, Google would still give you their business listing in front of Yelps. In a push to more prominently display their own content, Google didn’t give you quite what you were looking for. With Google Pigeon, when you search for Yelp, you will get Yelp at the top of the list.
Pigeon has also given us a greater emphasis on businesses that are located on directory sites. Specifically, if someone searches for your business, there is a good chance that they will see it on sites like Yelp, Google Places, Superpages or another directory site instead of your company’s homepage. Because Google's Pigeon gives greater importance to directory sites, it’s more important than ever to have your business’s listing on as many directory sites as possible.
Another major change with Pigeon is the reduction of the geographic search radius for which a local business can rank. This particular change is a real positive for consumers looking for goods and services in their neighborhood but may negatively impact your business if you’ve enjoyed a broad area of ranking previously. Using neighborhood indicators on your website and online marketing materials will be more important than ever.
You know the beloved seven pack that displays in Google’s map section when you are looking for local results? It’s displayed in a map as letter A-F ? Well for some industries and areas this has been eliminated. A search for a real estate agent in Denver, CO omits the map section completely. In some areas, the seven pack has been changed to a three pack. This change can have a big impact on your local listings ability to be found.
In a continued effort to place greater importance on reviews, Pigeon ranks companies that have numerous good reviews amongst the top of the heap. Because ranking areas are smaller and in some cases the map section on Google has shrunk, having great reviews is more important than ever to get your company in front of perspective clients looking for you, in your area.
If there’s one thing that I can guarantee you, it’s that Google will change again. WebPunch and its team of professionals have a firm pulse on the ever-changing landscape of local search engine optimization. You can be reassured that we are up to date on the latest happenings and will make adjustments to ensure that your business is getting the greatest exposure online.