As many of you know, Google is working all the time on providing its users the best search engine results. In order to do this, Google makes 500 – 600 algorithm updates each year with one or two major updates included in that. On July 24th, it appears that Google made some changes to its local ranking algorithm. Currently called “Pigeon” by Search Engine Land, this new algorithm update is the largest one since last year’s Humming bird update and is ruffling some feathers per say.
What the industry is seeing is that this update is affecting brick and mortar businesses than online retailers via modifying local directory listings. What we’re finding is that search results seem to be more closely related to traditional search rankings. It appears that Google is relying less on its Google Places listings as many business owners are seeing their map rankings lowering in the search engine result pages. There has been some speculation that part of the reason for this change is due to the “Yelp Issue” noticed back in 2012 with the release of Google Places. Many felt that Google was manipulating results to place its Google Places results ahead of other directories such as Yelp. Many are finding with the new Pigeon update that Yelp and other directories are listing higher in the search engine ranks.
How Does Google’s Pigeon Update Affect My Business?
There are pros and cons with any of Google’s update. If your business has been following Google’s best practices regarding their off page search engine optimization and citation listing creation then this can be a huge benefit as this update seems to be pushing directories higher in the listings. Businesses will want to make sure they check all of their online directory listings to ensure that their NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) are consistent on each directory and their website. To check your online listings, be sure to check out our Free Visibility Report.
You’ll want to work with your online marketing company to help you ensure that not only that your listings are up to date and consistent, but that you are targeting the directories which seem to be providing the best results on Google You’ll also want to make sure that your Google My Business (new name for Google Places) is optimized as well with great content, pictures, video, and of course your NAP information.
We’ve been discussing this for years now, but one thing which hasn’t changed in the Google world is the importance of having strong positive reviews for your business online. Make sure you are asking your customers to participate in leaving you online feedback. Now you cannot directly ask someone to leave you a review on the major directories like Google, Yelp, etc….but you can ask them to provide you online feedback. We also provide a great reputation management package which helps you get great customer reviews while still staying in the guidelines of all of these directories.
Should My Business Worry?
As we mentioned above, if you and your online marketing company have followed Google’s best practices, then more than likely you’ll be fine, heck you may even find out that you’re getting a boost with Google’s Pigeon Update. The one thing you DON’T want to do is to do nothing. Make sure you take advantage of our FREE Online Visibility report to see how your business is listed and how consistent your NAP information is. This is the first step in ensuring the continued success of your business online.
Please do not hesitate to call or contact us with any questions.