pigeon taking flightIt’s no secret: Google is constantly adjusting their search algorithm. The newest update has been dubbed “Pigeon” by Search Engine Land. While “Pigeon” isn’t the official Google name, its effects are shaking things up with search results again. According to Search Engine Land, they named this update Pigeon to remain with the “P” names (Panda and Penguin) while noting that “pigeons fly home” to familiar territory. The primary purpose of the pigeon update is to deliver local results. It does this well, almost too well.

There are three things you should know about the Google pigeon update:

  1. The rise of local – In a recent study by Moz, an industry SEO leader, it was determined that the Pigeon update narrowed down the radius of search results significantly.  It was also noted that many desktop results are now being “hyper-localized”, much like searches done on mobile devices. Improved distance and location ranking parameters means your local business can be found better with local searches. If you haven’t already done so, it may be time to complete your Google Plus profile.
  2. Reviews – Business reviews have been important for a while now. Businesses with reviews (both good and bad) are featured at the top of the page in what is being called the “local carousel.” These reviews are pulled from a variety of places including Yelp, Tripadvisor, Zagat and Urban Spoon just to name a few. What’s interesting is how Google is integrating this with more and more search terms. By clicking on a tile in the local carousel the search results are modified to show sites related to that particular business, including their Google Plus page.
  3. Smaller “packs” – in the past, you may have noticed the results from Google maps would have taken up most of the first page. These are called “packs” and it was not common to see 3, 5, or 7 listings for local results. After the Pigeon update, there seems to be a correlation between more localized searches and fewer maps results. For example, if you were to search for “hotels” you will most likely get results that include a map pack. However, if you were to search for a local search, such as “hotels Fort Collins”, the local carousel would appear and the map pack would be reduced to a single map on the right side of the page. With this search in particular, it’s interesting to note that many of the top search results are companies like Expedia and Tripadvisor. I can’t help but wonder, has Google done away with ads and simply gone for brands?

 

Have your rankings been affected by Pigeon? We’d love to hear about your experience, contact us today.

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