Google's Pigeon Update May Affect Your Local Search Listings

Google's recent algorithm update, unofficially called Pigeon, affects map listings within the search engine. Map listings have been removed for certain search terms.

Take a look at the video below. When I search for fast food, the first few items listed in the search are map listings in a three, five, or seven-pack above the list of web page results. These listings are populated based on my city and the restaurants in my area. But when I search the term "Columbus apartments" the package of map listings at the top of the page isn't there. Before the Pigeon update there used to be a three-pack of map listings and as you can more directory based websites are ranking.

Strategies you can apply

The search results display differently for certain keywords because the algorithm tweak favors local directory websites such as Yelp and UrbanSpoon, which means it's more important than ever to optimize your local directory pages and gain reviews for your business of those kinds of sites.

Google is still fine tuning the algorithm, and there isn't enough analytics data to speculate about the long-term impact this change will have. However, it seems the Pigeon update benefits businesses who devote time to managing the quality of their websites and their online directory listings and, on the flip side, it could reduce traffic for small businesses that ranked higher in local search results simply because of their map listings.

What can you do to minimize the impact of the Pigeon update on your business? Make sure your website contains quality information targeted to your local area and get in the habit of keeping your local directory listings and website updated. Continue to create content that is useful to your audience.

Brad Timofeev

Brad is an energetic thought leader on digital marketing.

Since joining the WebArt team in 2009, he's guided the agency's unique perspective on search engine optimization, content marketing, and other digital strategies. Book Brad for your next speaking arrangement.

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