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Google Pushes New Update Codename “Pigeon”
a google search for dental care dentists

Google is at it again.  A few days ago (July 24th) Google pushed out a major update for local search codename “Pigeon”.   As I am writing this, there aren’t many details out yet, but we are going to be watching how it affects business closely.

What we do know already is that the new algorithm update is attempting to provide more relevant and accurate local searched.  This is not a penalty-based update though, like Penguin and Panda.  Those updates were aimed at cleaning up low quality content.

Listing Pack Updates

The most noticed change so far is the lower numbers of listings in listing packs.

This number of listings in the local pack, according to MOZ Cast is a decline from 12.1% on July 23rd to only 3.3% on July 27th.

What should you do?

If you have encountered a significant traffic decrease over the past few days, this may be due to the disappearance of local listings.  What we would recommend, in the short term, run a PPC campaign to regain those losses.  In the long term, focus on getting web search listings for specific identified keywords.

Local Rankings Depending on Website Authority

Prior to this update, the local search algorithm was somewhat independent.  Now it appears to be more tied to traditional web search ranking signals.  In other words, local results will now take into effect your domain authority, backlinks, META, etc.

What should you do?

Run a competition report to see how you compare with your competitors on content, backlinks, social and SEO.  There are many places to do this, but Website Grader is just one.  Another is SEO Power Suite.

Local Directories

What we are seeing with the first post-update research, Yelp and other local directory sites have seen a considerable boost in ranking.  It is crucial now to ensure you are listed on the most influential sites to your industry.

What should you do?

Research local directories like Yelp, YP, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, Manta, Merchant Circle and ensure you are on them if they are relevant to your industry.  You should already be there, but if not, get there!

Google +

We’ve been preaching this for years now.  Claim, correct, update your business Google + listing.  Ensure all of your information is correct and don’t forget to verify your address.  While we can’t attribute directly yet that this is having an impact, it only makes sense.

What should you do?

Make sure you have a LOCAL phone number on your Google+ listing as well to help identify the locale of your business.

Link and verify your website too while you are setting up your profile. Remember, as with all social profiles, complete is best.

Other Tips

  • Ensure that your listings across directories, social media, and other external sites are all the same and have all the correct information
  • Ensure that your city or state is in your website’s title tag
  • Include a service/product keyword in your business title for maximum efficiency.
  • There are great tools like SEO Power Suite to help you track these changes and their impact on your business and competitors.

Let us know below if you see changes in your local rankings.

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