google local pigeon algorithim

On the evening of July 24, 2014 Google released their latest algorithm update out into the wild. According to Google the update, which the clever search engine experts of SearchEngineLand.com have named “Pigeon,” aims to improve the user experience in local searches by returning more relevant, useful and accurate rankings in the local search results.

Although the update is not penalty-based like Google’s previous major updates (Panda and Penguin), many sites are experiencing a drop in traffic or web rankings. While Google has yet to release an official statement on the percentage of queries affected by the update, quickly running a local search on your company can help you determine if your set was affected and how to improve your local rankings.

Has Your Site Been Affected by Pigeon?

Review Your Website Analytics

According to MozCast the percentage of searches with a local pack went from 11.2% on 7/24 to 4.2% on 7/25 and it has appeared to settled at about 9.3% as of 8/4. To see how your site might of been effected by this update review how your Google traffic shifted 7/23 to 7/29. Do you spot improvements or declines?

google searches with local results

Perform Local Searches for Your Business

Another way to test if your company’s site is being impacted from the Pigeon update is to run a local search on your business, as so far Pigeon has shown different affects for different industries. In some cases, such as within the SEO or Realtor industries, “local packs” of the search results have been either limited or even removed entirely.

google local packs after pigeon

Another interesting discovery is the bumping of individual businesses, hotels and restaurants into “carousel rankings,” highlighting a company’s Google+ account and reviews. While in the past, a query would result in both carousel results and organic results for individual restaurants, now more directories are appearing at the top of organic results.

Google Carousel Results

Several local businesses are experiencing a drop in rankings, often being bumped to at least the second page of Google’s search results. With the update focused on closely aligning local search results to existing ranking signals, sites with high web authority like Yelp, Urbanspoon and other well-known local directories are seeing their rankings improve.

How You Can Improve Your Site’s Local Rankings?

If your site suffered a rankings drop from Pigeon, there are still ways you can repair your rankings and search engine traffic. With the final goal of the update to tie local results more closely to standard web ranking signals, those sites with strong SEO signals will inevitably prevail. In general, directory sites will outrank local businesses in web authority rankings, so the need for local businesses to have a strong SEO strategy in place is crucial if a business wants to come out on top.

In the meantime, keeping up with the management of your business’s Google+ profile page, listing it in the correct category and maintain N.A.P. (Name, Address and Phone Number) consistency between your Google+ profile and your website can help to place your business within carousel rankings or local packs. Additionally gaining positive reviews from users on local directory sites and Google+ will help to draw both web traffic and customers towards your business.

Have you noticed any ranking or referral changes for your local business from the Pigeon update? Contact Eyeflow today and discover what we can do to bring your local business back on top of the search rankings.

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