Google Pigeon Drops on Local Search Results
Local organic search is a big deal. Ranking for your keywords in the town that you offer your product or service is one of the best ways for customers to find you. To be found at what what Google calls the Zero Moment of Truth, when your potential customer needs you most, is a great way to bring in new business.
As you probably know, Google controls the search market (currently around 67% of all searches). All of us are playing on Google’s field, and once again they have changed their rules on their field. Now we are left trying to figure out what the new rules are (they don’t tell us), and how to best adjust to these new rules. Search Engine Land has named Google’s new local search algorithm Pigeon.
What we know about Google Pigeon:
Google has stated that the new Pigeon algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities to include the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more. It was basically supposed to tie into the more traditional organic search ranking signals.
We also know that the new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters.
The result? Total mayhem in the local search results! Local search experts have been studying the results to try and decipher the new algorithm, and what factors are the most important.
Here are a few take aways about how Google Pigeon has affected local searches:
- Google is not displaying the 7 pack Map result (see example on right) nearly as much as they previously did.
- There has been an increase in the 3 pack result (like the 7 pack, but with just 3 listings).
- Directories are more authoritative, and are being given more weight in results.
- The search radius has been reduced for many local searches.
- Businesses are now less likely to display twice on the page (previously several websites would be listed in the organic listing and in the 7 pack results).
- Local business are beginning to rank better than national brands.
- Due to shifting results, it appears that Google is still “tweaking” the algorithm. So stay tuned for more…
What can you do about Google Pigeon?
Our biggest take-away? Continue to submit your information to local directories (Yellow Pages.com Merchant Circle, Citysearch, etc). They are more important now.
Make sure you claim your Google My Business listing.
Keep collecting positive reviews from customers.
Most importantly, keep using Google’s best practices, and avoid “black hat” tactics at the risk of total peril!
If none of this makes sense, but local search rankings are important to you or your business, or if you just have questions about Pigeon, I suggest you contact your SEO person. They should be able to tell you how Google Pigeon has affected you, and how you can adjust to rank better under Pigeon’s reign.