Another Google Algorithmn Change?
Honestly, until a colleague told me that their placement on Google page ranking and the Google Carousel* literally disappeared and why, I had no idea that they released another update at the end of July 2014. But why would you unless you had an issue? They made no formal announcement, and they are continually making changes on a DAILY basis, approximately 500-600 per year. This latest update is being termed “Pigeon” by Search Engine Land.
The Pigeon Update and What it Means for your Page Ranking?
Why is it being termed “Pigeon”? “Pigeon is the name we decided on because this is a local search update and pigeons tend to fly back home.” – Search Engine Land. So basically what Penguin did to penalizing link schemes, paid or bad links, the Pigeon update is doing to improve local searches. I use the word “improve” loosely, as for those who saw their page ranking fall dramatically and not sure why, they are none too happy with it.
Since 25-30% of desktop and more than 50% of mobile searches are local, Google has provided a more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. .
Another Pigeon change is that local directories (especially Yelp) have been boosted in the page ranking, thus increasing their relevance in the industry. So if you are in the hotel, restaurant, or entertainment industries, make sure your directory listings are your primary focus. First get control of your listing, optimize your content, reply to feedback and add quality pictures to those listings.
How to Emphasize your Location to the Search Engines
These recent changes to Google enforce a tip I’ve been advocating for year – make sure you business is listed on Google Places for Business and Google+. Although the readership is slowly increasing on Google+, the primary benefit of having an active page is for search engine optimization and local search page rankings. If you’re a local business, make sure to promote your location on your Google+ and other social media networks.
Also, add your location (city, county and/or state) to your long-tail keywords on your page title, subheadings, picture captions and descriptions, page description and your content of your page. To add more focus to your location, add a page entitled Location or Locations, show a map of how to find you, with directions including the location keywords.
Create local backlinks to your site from your local Chamber or BBB, area organizations, legitimate local directories and non-profits that you sponsor or serve on a board. Not only will these backlinks emphasize your location to the search engines, local support to your community builds a loyal customer base and improves your brand (reputation).
The process of search engine optimization is an on-going process that takes regular, monthly analysis and continual tweaks considering all consistent updates and changes of the search engine’s algorithms. What will stay consistent is white hat strategies such as (1) well-written, engaging and quality content, (2) reputable backlinks and (3) active participation in social networks, will also produce the best results.