Google’s Pigeon – Updating Local Search Results
Google’s Pigeon update, which was rolled out in late July of this year, was meant to provide more relevant and accurate results in the local search engine results pages. You may already be well aware of this if it has effected your search rankings or you may be wondering what we’re talking about. This is reflective of its consistency and impact.
For the most part, we’ve seen many businesses drop their local rankings. So what exactly has been the effects of Pigeon and what does this mean for local SEO and for your businesses if you want to rank well on the local search results?
Effects of the Pigeon update for local searches
To be honest, the effects have been confusing. We are seeing businesses outside of local areas ranking in local searches and businesses within local areas, being dropped from the local 7 pack (these are results that show the business name, address, phone number and map in the search results for 7 local businesses).
What has apparently happened is that the calculations for the distance within local rankings has changed, however sometimes it appears to have decreased and other times to have increased. Some businesses have remained in the local search radius but have lost rank, others have not been affected and yet others have been knocked off their rankings.
Some SEO experts believe that Google is testing different versions of Pigeon, which is the cause of so many conflicting results in the search results. The problem is that we won’t really know the final effects of Pigeon until the dust settles.
So if your business has suffered in the rankings since the roll out of Pigeon, what can you do? We don’t recommend completely changing your SEO tactics, if they were working before this update. Remain vigilant with tracking your rankings and traffic in Analytics and perform the checks outlined below:
- Continue building overall site authority and trust: Google has stated that the Pigeon Update is more heavily tied to the traditional web search ranking signals than previous updates. By interpretation, this means that local rankings may well depend more on website authority than locality.
This interpretation seems reasonable, given some of the changes in local rankings with some businesses being excluded from local searches, in which they ranked well previously. So make sure that your onsite and offsite SEO is up to scratch, particularly check your backlinks to ensure they are from quality, authoritative sites.
- Use more long tailed keyword phrases: If your business has dropped in the rankings, it might be worth considering going after less competitive keywords. At least including a greater number of less competitive keywords in your content. This might involve changing a category or two on your Google My Business Page and it is likely that you will need to rewrite some of your content or write new content to include these low competition keywords.
This is a reasonable strategy, particularly if bigger businesses out rank you for highly competitive keywords. So focus on the lesser keywords where you stand a chance and can establish a foothold to build upon.
- Make sure your website is optimised for humans: You should already be on top of this anyway, regardless of the Google landscape. This is all about creating engaging and informative content on your website, answering your customer’s questions, solving their problems and addressing their concerns.
You also want your website as aesthetically pleasing as possible, to open fast and in every way – to be better than your competitor’s website. This is all about organic traffic and providing your customers with the information they want, with a well-designed and user-friendly website.
- Utilise your local directories: Some people have noticed that local directories are ranking higher with the Pigeon Update, so make sure that your business is listed in all of your local online directories and that your information is up to date and informative.
In conclusion, your rankings really depend on how popular your business is within your community. If you strive to build and maintain a positive, informative and engaging relationship within your local community, your local rankings should improve accordingly.
There are many tactics to ensure that your onsite and offsite SEO is up to scratch, but if you need help or have questions, call us on 02 8211 0668, email us at [email protected] or complete our online enquiry form.
Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.