On the 24th of July, 2014, Google officially launched a new algorithm called Pigeon update, which is a local search update. A SEO Company India has said that this update does not affect online businesses and retailers as much as it does brick and mortar stores by modifying the listings of local directory. So what does it exactly do and how is your business affected by it? Well, before we delve into that let us first see what the update is and how it works.
What is Google Pigeon Update and How does it Work?
While the update will be making changes at the back end of the network, its impact can be felt in the front end by the searchers. The algorithm is meant to offer accurate and relevant search results for local businesses which are closely associated with traditional search signals and rankings.
The new algorithm uses the web search capabilities of Google on a much deeper level. This means that the local listings will now be displayed like the regular search results with less favouritism toward Google Places listings.
Currently only U.S. English results are being affected by the Pigeon update. No information has been given regarding when will the other languages and locations start getting affected by it. However, you may want to know what has been the effect of the algorithm. Well, it has allowed local directory sites and listings get better ranks and visibility in Google search results than they did earlier.
Why this Google Update?
While the reason behind Pigeon update has remained undisclosed, there were speculations regarding why Google introduced Pigeon.
Way back in the year 2012, when Google Places was released, online directories, such as Yelp started noticing a decline in the rank of Google. It appeared that Google was manipulating results to place its own listings ahead of that of Yelp and other search directories; and this was being done regardless of the search string, popularity and any other SEO practices. This issue came to be popularly known as the ‘Yelp problem’.
Yelp proved its point by using a particular search string, ‘ gary denko yelp’, which showed the official Gary Danko, a popular restaurant in San Franciso, California, site and several Google+ listings and content pieces ahead of Yelp listing.
A SEO company India has said that this certainly cannot be considered to be a reason or motivator behind the Pigeon update. However, it is true that Yelp listing for Gary Denko now has the top rank in Google SERPs.
Who did it Impact?
Yelp, of course, and the other directories that were looking for getting better search ranking and popularity.
Websites like TripAdvisor and Urbanspoon, which are known to list attractions and local eateries, no longer have Google listings as its competitors. So, restaurant owners and retailers can now focus on directories that attract the major share of attention, instead of catering to the requirements of search engine giant, Google.
Pigeon has also affected local businesses and retailers who rely on traditional SEO for the ranking of their sites. This is because of the new improved ranks that directories have got, without the help of any larger networks. Therefore, it may be a little more difficult now than ever for the local retailers to get good ranking on SERP using only conventional SEO techniques.
Boosting the Exposure of your Business
The new algorithm of Google is pretty easy to understand. But, what does it exactly do for your business? How can you be confident about benefiting from it rather than falling short? Well, do not worry; here are a few tips for your success at it:
Study your listings
May be you have sacrificed a directory that was driving more incoming traffic for the prominence of results of Google Places. If this happens to be the case, then it is time that you take a step back. Find out the source of your traffic and focus on it. This is because directories now get good ranks on Google, understanding which website drives the most amount of traffic to your site is necessary for determining your focal point of efforts and attention.
Do not Forget Google
New algorithms and updates are released almost daily, or five or six hundred times to be precise. Hence, you can never be sure about when a new algorithm will be released that can affect your business. So, you are advised to maintain Google + and Google Places presence always.
Emphasize on Major Directory Websites
As mentioned earlier, Pigeon update has made it more difficult for individual sites advertising local businesses to maintain a good search ranking with Google. Directories, are instead, more prominent; thus, more important than ever. Invest on making a good business page on large directory websites, like Yelp or other directory and optimize it well.
Involve your Customers
Customers are best attracted with positive reviews. So, take the time to ask your customers to leave reviews. Create links to your directory, listing on your website or email newsletter. Leave pamphlets in your restaurant or store. Make use of social media pages and ask your followers to leave reviews. Generate as much positivity as possible. This way your listings will work to your advantage.
Maintain an Active Business Website
The fact that promoting your site on Google has become much harder with Pigeon does not mean that your site is as good as obsolete now. It is still very much the place where your business resides. Your site is where listings send vendors to. So, make sure that your business website is updated, contains relevant information, attracts attention and promotes your business in a positive way.
The Pigeon update of Google may well revolutionize the way listings are featured in Google SERPs. However, you do not need to worry as your business is not in great danger, as long as you know how to survive the update. And the survival tips are well-explained in this blog. A renowned SEO Company India says, it does not matter how many updates Google comes up with, there are always ways to survive them.
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