Google Pigeon is an update to the local ranking algorithm that Google launched on July 24th, 2014. Google stated the purpose of the update was to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results. In addition, Google said that this new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters. Unlike other major updates that Google has implemented over the last couple of years, this update is not a penalty based update - it’s a change to the local search ranking algorithm itself.
What has changed?
Some of the key changes noticed to date include:
- There are a lower number of search results that include local listings.
- The new local ranking algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, meaning it is now taking into account more of the traditional search ranking signals.
- Local business listing directories such as Yelp and Yellow Pages have seen a significant boost in rankings. For some searches, the entire list of results are made up of local directory listings.
- Searches done in larger cities are including more results from the center of the city vs. the outskirts.
- Local link building and/or content creation has a big impact on local rankings.
- Business reviews play an important part of the ranking process.
What should I do now?
If you own a local small business, it’s more important now than ever to have your business listed in local, authoritative directories and websites (also knows as Citation Building). With 59% of consumers using Google every month to find local businesses1, you’ll want to be found. Along with your local citations, you'll also want to persuade your customers into leaving reviews. As I touched on above, the more reviews your business has the more popular your business will seem to Google (and the other major search engines) and will therefore be rewarded with better local search engine rankings. And we all know better rankings leads to more business!