On 24th of July 2014 in the US Google made a small but potentially high impact change to local search results. Although Google have yet to make an announcement regarding the change there is, as you will expect a lot of speculation, monitoring and gossip surrounding the latest update.
What is Google Pigeon?
Because Google have not yet made an announcement, there is no official name for this update, a lot like Humming Bird released last year. Google has made the update and kept schtum! Search Engine Land opted for the name Google Pigeon and it seems to be sticking!
The results of the Google Pigeon update seem to provide Google searchers with an even more local search result, aiming to be more specific and appropriate for the searcher and their location. Google’s trademark approach to search engine use – Give the customer what they want!
The main change Google Pigeon ushers in, as far as we can tell, is the diameter of the local search range has been reduced from 12 miles to 6 miles.
This has had a knock on positive effect for local directories, making their returns more prominent. So whilst we all frantically search to see if our directory listings are up to date many are wondering when we will get this update. After all it is live in the US and usually where they tend to be guinea pigs you can make a safe bet the UK and European searches will be included in the next roll out – if we haven’t already!
Now before you all rush for the exits and frantically start bemoaning the anticipated lost rankings (there have been a lot of speculation on job sites dropping etc) use the time before the UK release to check your practices, are you confident your activity will show in local results, are you listing with high reputation directory sites? Is your office/business premises showing on Google Maps? Is your content pertinent to your local market? Collate positive reviews from your local market. Cultivate local backlinks from high reputation sites, tie in your social media campaigns to your SEO strategy…
Of course if you don’t rely on local traffic, the above practices will still benefit your SEO.