Google’s local search algorithm, Pigeon, which rolled out in July 2014, continues to affect businesses engaging in local SEO. There are several ways in which Pigeon can help or hinder a business’ local SEO. In order to fully optimize a website for Pigeon, webmasters should keep the following factors in mind:
–Maps searches and web searches yield similar results: One of the main facets of Pigeon is that it affects a website’s results in both Google Maps and typical Google web searches. Previously, many webmasters saw very different search results when comparing Maps and Google web searches. In order to optimize for both, it is a best practice to ensure that your Google+ Local listing is filled out completely.
–Don’t stray too far away from SEO best practices: Pigeon ranking signals are similar to standard Google ranking signals. In other words, for the most part, the same rules apply to local SEO as those which comprise standard SEO practices. Fresh, original content still reigns supreme.
–Optimize your Yelp profile: With the Pigeon update, we are now seeing Yelp profiles index higher on search results. Keep up with your competition by making sure your Yelp profile is fully optimized for search and users. Make sure your page includes all of your business’ contact information, your business summary is filled out and includes relevant keywords, and to include photos of your products or services. This is also a good opportunity to solicit reviews from previous (satisfied) customers.
-Don’t neglect local listings: Local listings have always been a key component of local SEO, and with Pigeon, they are even more important. Local listing websites are now seeing greater visibility in search results since Pigeon rolled out.
–Some industries have been affected more than others: Search Engine Land reports that different industries are seeing different results since Pigeon. For example, mold removal companies, lawyers and attorneys, and several companies optimizing for “commercial” services have seen a drop in their search results since Pigeon. The exact reason is unclear, and does not mean that businesses in such industries should refrain from local SEO. If Google has taught us anything, it is that its algorithms are constantly changing. It is best for all local businesses to implement standard local SEO practices.
-Pigeon has not made its way worldwide yet: Pigeon is only currently affecting U.S. businesses and also those in the U.K., Canada, and Australia. Pigeon is likely to affect other countries at some point in 2015.