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Google launches ‘pigeon’ update – But will it affect you and your website?
by
21 August 2014

Google launches ‘pigeon’ update – But will it affect you and your website?

About two weeks ago, Google launched a new local search algorithm update and within minutes of being online, tech heads all over the World were coming up with names.  The one that seems to stick, and the most apt if you ask us, is ‘Pigeon’ (bravo to the guys at Search Engine Land for that one!), however we are all still waiting to see if Google will rechristen their newest offering or stick with the trend.

So, why pigeon and what’s it all about we hear you ask?  Well as the update is all about local search results, pigeon seemed to be a logical name due to their use for local postal deliveries and their tendency to return home again and again.

Currently only affecting US sites, it gives us brits a chance to see what pigeon is doing to local results and make sure that we are ready for its roll out over here in the foreseeable future.

As for what it means to your website, well that’s a little more complicated, so let me break it down a bit.

Firstly, unlike Penguin, Pigeon does not penalise web sites with poor SEO practices; this is more about geography and location. For example, search ‘Norwich Restaurants’ and you will get a list of results targeted on the Keyword Norwich, no matter where you are when you search.

Taking into account over 100 different ranking signals, functionalities such as auto correction, use of synonyms and knowledge graph will be used to deliver results.

Google’s local map listings (7-pack) have also been displaying significantly lower numbers, with reports from across the pond saying that as low as 3 or 4 are being displayed, although this could be down to there being less duplication of organic and local results being displayed, meaning companies should no longer sit on first, second and third place.

So, what can you do to make sure that Pigeon doesn’t hit your search results figures?

The most likely thing to happen will be;

1)     You will see a drop in the traffic to your website – if some of your local listings drop, the n so will your traffic.  Short term, run a PPC campaign but for a longer fix, focus on getting web search listings for those key words

2)     Local Rankings drop – If this happens the nit’s time to look at your SEO characteristics and see how you fair against your competitors.  Domain authority and backlinks are a good start, but an overall look at your SEO campaign will certainly flag up any areas where you could improve practice.

3)     Local Directories are King – Local directories such as Yelp seem to have been given a massive boost with Pigeon, so making sure that you are correctly listed will help you to be found through a directory search, even if your local business search suffers.  Making sure you find relevant directories to your business will also give you  a helping hand

Unfortunately, until Google officially releases full information on this update, Pigeon remains an allusive creature indeed and we won’t know exactly how to prepare until she flies across the Atlantic and lands on our shores.

As always, our specialist SEO team here at Websmart are on hand to help.  From running a diagnostic report to see how your SEO is performing, to writing new content to help your website perform to its maximum potential.

Call our team today on 01553 766760 and ensure that you’re prepared for Pigeon!