Pigeons, Pandas, and Penguins, oh my! Google’s newest algorithm has been released and it is providing more useful, relevant and accurate local search results. The update, which has attracted the attention of small and large brand owners alike, impacts both the organic local listings within Google Map Search and Google Web Search and is tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals.
Google rolled out the most recent major update to local search on July 25th, and the industry is calling it "Pigeon" due to the fact that it starts with a P, and that pigeons have the tendency to fly home, which resembles some of the location qualities of the update.
The major changes are primarily on the back end, so aesthetically, the Google local search features should function as before. But results will be more relevant and accurate with "closer ties to their web search capabilities" - in other words, the feature more accurately uses contextual search.
“It’s pretty exciting because search engines are becoming much more in tune toward what people are actually searching, how they surf, and how they want to engage. It’s a big step for local business and search engines alike,” says Joel Solomon LaneTerralever’s SEO expert.
Some businesses could see an increase or decrease in website referrals and business leads. The new algorithm makes it easier for Google to identify keywords that help it understand the meaning behind what people are actually searching for. For example, if you are from New York on vacation in Phoenix, AZ and are on Google searching “Mexican food,” the new algorithm will use location and keyword tracking to give you more restaurants in the area in opposition to great taco recipes.
Recently Google has made major changes to its local system for businesses. They’ve tied together business pages to make of all online aspects easier to manage and update. Google Maps, Google Places, and Google Plus business pages have all been joined to form the all-inclusive “Google my Business.” This makes updating business accounts with changes simple, no matter the business size. The last major update to Google,the Panda update, was specifically focused on identifying and promoting high-quality content that is useful for visitors, while pushing down low-quality, spammy, thin, and scraped content.
What will it change?
This update will be very important for brick and mortar stores and any brand or business that will serve up relevant information. It will be more and more important for local business to keep their online info such as hours, pricing, business type, and the like updated. The key for businesses is to be as informative and helpful as possible with the information that they provide.
Optimize your online presence
If you want your business to out-soar the Pigeon update, be sure to keep an eye on your analytics. Google analytics is a free resource so there is absolutely no excuse not to use it. Look for patterns or keywords that are bringing traffic to your website and maximize the use of those keywords in your content and title tags on your site.