Google Pigeon is an update in local search Algorithm, which was released on July 24, 2014. This increases the distance and location measuring parameters. It aims to provide more useful, relevant & accurate local search results to the users.
It got mixed reviews from webmasters. Some saw improvements in the ranking while some saw a decrease. Google kept the algorithm as a secret but webmasters could realize that the Google pigeon gives priorities to local search results. It takes distance & location as a parameter to measure the rank. This affected the search results in Google maps along with the usual Google search results.
After analyzing traffics and rankings of tons of websites we can say the below things about Google Pigeon:
Domain Name Matters:
From Google pigeon update it was seen that greater brands with national & international reputation got higher rankings and traffics. They get benefited from the update. While smaller brands with not so much name dropped down.
So it clearly indicates that Pigeon takes the domain name seriously.
“Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool“ Eric Schmidt, Former CEO at Google
So it’s advised that if you are a national brand with a well-reputed domain, then optimize your website. Make the pages mobile friendly which would be easy to navigate. And if you are a small or medium business domain then build authoritative links for it from reputed brands and look for local optimization efforts.
Location Matters the Most:
Google pigeon takes 2 things into account i.e. location and distance. So for an obvious reason, this update gives preference to businesses that are closer to the area. For example: If you have a business in the city, then your page rank will increase but those operating outside the city will suffer from page rank decrease.
As the location of searcher mattered a lot here so it won’t be a long term factor. But for now, if you are opening any business, make sure you do local listing.
Never Over-optimize your website:
Usually, people use location specific keywords. For example, someone wants to open a shoe shop in patia, Bhubaneswar. Then he can use keywords like Patia, chandrasekharpur, KIIT, Damana, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Nandankanan etc. in this way it will benefit him. But don’t overuse keywords or else pigeon may punish you for that.
These are things you should take care of:
- Give your local listing in a reputed domain and most popular directories.
- If there is decrease in your local site, then analyze if your website is over-optimized.
- Always stay updated. Google always changes its algorithms.
Local listings got disappeared:
After the Pigeon update, queries are drastically lowered and now they include a local listing pack in their SERPs. Due to the update many lose traffic to their websites as certain local listings got disappeared.
High ranking for Local directories:
After the update, local directories like yelp, Urbanspon, Tripadvisor have seen a tremendous increase in ranking. It was even seen that for some queries the SERP was made from reputed local directories only.
So you should do the following things for higher ranking:
- Make a list of reputed Local directories
- Add your business in each of those directories
- Analyze your ranks for different local listing
Local carousel was not affected:
Carousel gives priority to image, rating and shows all options side by side. Unlike other listing packs, local carousel results were remained same after the update. They were not affected much. So it became an easy way to gain extra exposure for the keywords. So always make sure you give a nice, high-quality photo in your Google+ business profile and tell your customers to review.
Ways to recover from Google Pigeon Update:
If you experienced traffic loss and decrease in rank, then you should follow the below steps
Google+local / Google Map
It is advised to update Google + local listing and Google map. Fill up all listings associated with your business accurately and make sure the Google map is placed at the exact location of your company.
Local Business Directories
Make a list of all local directories that you could list your business with. If there is any listing exists then claim it or create new ones and modify them as good as you can.
Well optimized website
Make sure that you have a high-quality website that represents your business. It should be optimized for local search items. It should have unique and original content as well as user interface so that viewers will engage for more time.
High Quality Backlink
Google always updates its algorithms. So it’s better to have quality backlinks always. It increases your authority in Google and other search engines. If you have backlinks from local directories indicating to a specific location page then that will help you increase your rank.
Make sure all contact information (address, telephone, website URL, Email Id etc) are always updated. These should be updated consistently in all websites and local listing directories.
Last but not least always stay updated. Google changes its algorithms and updates it regularly. So always stay updated. Use Google Analytics to check your ranking, traffic and conversion rate etc.