Google’s Pigeon AlgorithmNo, sorry the legendary sea creature is not coming to get you, no matter how cool that would be. Google has recently released the Pigeon, a new algorithm update that is coming after your local listings. Unlike their previous updates that affect online retailers and businesses, Pigeon affects traditional storefronts and businesses.

What Is Pigeon and What Does It Do?

The unofficially named “Pigeon” algorithm has been created to strengthen the ties between search queries and Google’s deeper capabilities. What this really means is that Google is finally starting to notice the importance of local search, and they are improving the distance and location parameters on local search results.

While focusing on tying search capabilities and local search results together, Pigeon will also take into account Google’s Knowledge Graph, spelling corrections and synonyms. However the Pigeon has also flown away with some search query 7-Pack results (the carousel listings that are on the front page of search results).

What Does That Mean for Your Business?

One of the major shifts that Pigeon has sent us is a shift from Google+ listings and Google Local listing to giving more weight to directory listings, such as Yelp and Trip advisor for certain search queries. Meaning that traditional businesses will have to work harder on local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) than they have in the past to gain the coveted page 1 listing.

Now you may be asking yourself, “How could the Pigeon do this to me? I thought we were friends!” First, pigeons cannot be friends with you; this is not a Mel Brooks musical. Second, this update is not as bad as it sounds. By shifting the focus to directory listings this update could potentially give you an advantage against your competition. By submitting your listing to relevant niche directories and some of the larger directories like Yelp, you put more weight behind your listing, at least in search results. With the disappearance of some of the local listings, search results are now hyper-localized and you may only be competing with a handful or at times no other businesses for specific keywords.

What You Can Do to Help With Your Rankings?

Take a deep breath and get ready to start working. One of the first things you should do is find relevant directories and start studying your traffic. Sometimes the directories you “think” you should be in are not the best directories to drive traffic to your site. You should also start to re-evaluate your keyword focus, since this update is so geo-targeted you need to evaluate the best local terms as well as what terms are already driving traffic to your site. Also don’t delete your Google+ or Google Places listings, because you never know when Google will roll out another update that could affect your rankings. Finally, start or continue to encourage your customer to leave a review about your business on directories and on Google itself.

What Did We Learn Today?

The Pigeon is not your friend. Here is a great recap of what this squab really is:

  • Affects local search query results
  • Favors directory listings
  • Removes 7-Pack for some search terms
  • Combat Pigeon with tightening your focus on local SEO

No matter what the latest Google Bird is, there will always be businesses that get their eyes pecked out and ones that never even see it sweeping overhead. For more information about local SEO and how to ensure that your business is consistently seen, call Lead to Conversion at 855.473.6582 or fill out our contact form today.