The SEO world has been buzzing this last week about a recent update to one of Google’s search algorithms. There is no official name for the update, however it is being referred to as the Pigeon update within SEO communities. This Pigeon update has changed a number of things, mostly designed around the way local searches are ranked. Here is a quick summary of what the important changes are and how they can affect you.
Changes to local directory sites
Yelp, a widely used business review site, recently criticized Google for prioritizing Google+ reviews over Yelp’s reviews within search results. This recent algorithm update has implemented some changes designed to change that. Now, when Google searches contain the term “yelp”, a yelp review of the business should appear at the top. Yelp was definitely the most favored directory site in this update. Search results pages can now contain several Yelp reviews before the actual business website is listed.
This update essentially changes the frequency that local directories are shown on results pages. For instance, if you search for “fort collins restaurants” within Google, the results will look similar to this:
Notice how all of the actual restaurant pages are located at the top in the carousal while the organic results are almost entirely local directories and reviews. It should be more common to see reviews of businesses toward the top of search results now.
The main purpose of the Pigeon update was to provide more quality local search results. Google Maps has become more integrated with the search algorithm. With the increased integration of Google Maps, it is more important than ever to establish your company’s location within Google Maps.
Punished if you have more than 1 G+ page
If you have more than one Google+ page, you may now be getting punished. With this last update, Google decided that companies that have more than one Google+ page counts as spam and will punish them. The logic behind this comes from the fact that some companies were creating multiple pages in order to purposely manipulate the Google results and increase their rank.
Some companies may have multiple Google+ pages created for their multiple locations. It is worth making sure that your business does not have multiple Google+ pages so you do not get punished.