Is Google’s Latest Update Sending Local Search in the Right Direction?

So word around the SEO water cooler is that Google has updated its’ search algorithm which has resulted in big changes in search engine ranking pages (SERP’s). SearchEngineLand has called this update Pigeon and it seems the name has stuck.

There is not a whole lot of information out yet so we don’t yet know for sure exactly what it all means. We do know that so far it has only been pushed out to U.S English based search results and impacts organic local listings within both Google Map Search and Google Web Search.

We also know that a much lower number of queries include a local listing pack. According to MOZ Cast, this number dropped from 12.1% to 3.3% from July 23rd to July 27th.

SERP Local Listings Graph

With the decrease in local pack listings there has been an equal and opposite increase in rankings for local directories (TrueLocal, Yellow Pages). For business owners, this means that it’s essential you be listed in the most influential local directories. If you are currently relying on local listing packs like the one below, your business may suffer as a result.

Local Listings Pack

It seems like this may be the first step in Google’s plan to make it essential for businesses to be on Google+ if they want to get exposure in Google searches. Link Assistant has given some general tips for local ranking improvements, and it certainly sounds like Google+ and local directory sites will be the big winners:

  1. Create an individual Google+ Local page for your business
  2. Make sure you are in the proper category in Google+
  3. Make sure the local area code phone number is added to Google+
  4. NAP (name, address, phone number) must match on website and Google+ page
  5. NAP must be consistent in all local directories
  6. Reviews on Google + pages are a huge influence on Google search rankings
  7. Include city or state in website’s title tag
  8. Include product/ service keyword in business title

We will update this blog post as we continue to learn more about Google Pigeon (as it is currently known). For now, make sure your business is listed on Google My Business and in local directories and traffic to your site shouldn’t be affected.

If you would like to find out more about listing in Google’s business directory or ranking in Google’s results pages, please contact or fill in the contact form and we can arrange a consultation.

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