How Google’s Pigeon Update Affects SEO For Local Businesses

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Google’s Pigeon update was implemented in July. Its aim is to improve the results page for local searches. Piegeon applies many of Google’s traditional web search algorithms to local searches. Google has stated that Pigeon focuses on backlinks and the location of both the searcher and the relevant businesses.

In addition to what Google has publicly acknowledged, it is clear that Pigeon emphasizes a few things. This includes brand, quality content (particularly images and video), and Yelp. With these elements in mind, here are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re optimized for Pigeon.

One way to help your site move up the local rankings is to include high quality pictures and video. Google has rewarded sites that feature quality content for a long time, but as the Internet as a whole has moved to feature more pictures and video, so have Google’s search results. Images of both your business and your products will certainly entice potential customers, and they can now display on search results pages.

Making sure that you put your images and video up on services that Google owns (Google+ and YouTube, respectively) will also help boost search rankings. If you don’t have the equipment or the know-how to take professional photographs or video, BSG has media experts who can do just what you need.

Pigeon Update

Pigeon also heavily weighs search results when a particular brand is mentioned. This should be a good thing, because if someone is searching for you specifically, they ought to be directed first to you. However, you can see a detailed explanation of the pigeon update, this can lead to some odd results. Businesses that happen to include search keywords in their name are being boosted in searches that presumably are just looking for several options.

Specific Searches

To better illustrate this, let me give you a ridiculous hypothetical example. Imagine that you have restaurant named San Diego Restaurant. When people search for “san diego restaurant”, Google sometimes thinks that they’re searching for the specific San Diego Restaurant.

I’m sure Google will make adjustments to fix this in the future. For now, you can do as the linked article advises and adjust the descriptors in your Google My Business Page. Doing so will help ensure that general searches for your business category in your location will include your business.

Yelp pages have really moved up the rankings thanks to Pigeon. In some cases, small businesses are seeing their Yelp review page outrank their own website. This is surely frustrating for those businesses, but Yelp visits can inform people about your business and help drive sales. You should encourage customers (both offline and through social media) to post reviews on Yelp. You may get the occasional negative review, but even that is okay. More reviews on Yelp will improve both the ranking of your business’s Yelp review page and your own site.

I should emphasize here that it is imperative to make sure that your business’s information is the same on Yelp (and any other online directories, from Google+ to TripAdvisor) as it is on your own site. Differences between the two will not only confuse customers but can also lead to a penalty in your search results ranking.

SEO is Tricky

SEO can be tricky, and the exact algorithms the search engines use are always a mystery. If you do this on your own, you could easily lead to your site being marked as spam. The professional SEO at BSG is both organic and ethical. They make certain that your site is filled with high quality content and that it is relevant to what people are searching for.

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