We’ve all gone through the various Google algorithm changes over the years. Our sites have been impacted in various ways from no impact at all right through to some sites being deindexed from the search index.
The positive in all of these algorithm updates is that they are helping to clean up the internet of spammy, worthless sites that are typically manipulating the search engines into higher search rankings.
The updates help to level the playing field and give those sites that operate under the Google SEO guidelines a chance to compete in the search results.
So what sort of impact has the Google Pigeon update had?
Local search had been spared much volatility since the Hummingbird update last fall, but that’s all changed now with the arrival of the Pigeon update.
The stated intention of this update is to more closely tie local results with what the standard web ranking signals are. This is presumably done to make rankings more consistent, and increase the quality of the results. While it’s unclear whether it will succeed in those aims, there are a few ramifications that are clear, and the effects they are having is very real for some local businesses.
Let’s have a look at 3 ways Pigeon is apparently impacting local search, and what if anything there is to do about it.
3 Ways Pigeon is affecting local search
- Strong brand directories are winning – Directories like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Yellowpages.com are seeing an up to 10 percent increase in traffic and rankings, often showing up multiple times for a local search.
- Smaller map radius – The view shown by Maps is now in many cases much smaller, reducing the number of businesses found in an area, and consequently opening the door for more directory results in order to have anything to show at all. This makes it problematic for locations just outside the exact search area to be seen as a choice in a neighboring locale search.
- Phasing out of the 7 pack – Far fewer local search terms are benefiting from the increased visibility of the 7-pack. While some of the larger search terms still show this, most now show a 3-pack with a reduced map radius, or nothing at all. The real world traffic loss experts are reporting that a local business not showing up any longer in the map pack is losing 16 percent a month. Quite significant.
As the Pigeon update plays out and the feathers quit flying, and runs through a few incarnations, it will be more clear what the lasting impact will be for your local search results. In the meantime, making sure you are optimizing your local directory listings for all they’re worth appears to be your best defense.
Taking stock after each Google update is necessary in fine tuning our SEO efforts. These updates should be considered a great opportunity to properly examine how our SEO is working for our business.