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Google Pigeon Update


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Google's latest update, Pigeon, looks to use locality as a factor in search rankings. This slide deck explores the ramifications of this on your rankings and business.

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Google Pigeon Update

  1. 1. New Google Algorithm Update ‘Pigeon’ August 2014
  2. 2. August 14 2 Background
  3. 3. What is the pigeon update? • Rolled out on 25 July 2014. • Unofficially named Pigeon to follow in the line of ‘P’ updates. • Concerns itself with local search. It gives weight to locality over authority. August 14 3
  4. 4. How does it work? • Affects results in Google Web and Maps searches. • Local businesses and individual stores will see a change in ranking. August 14 4 • The image shows two search results with a before and after. • After the pigeon update the results were on average 20 minutes closer (driving) than before. • ‘Baskin Robbins’ (a large chain) had fallen out of the results in favour of ‘Van Dyke Ice Cream’ (an independent store with a strong G+ profile). • When searches are carried out with the word ‘Yelp’ in it, this result will rank above Google’s own local listings. This is a new development. Before After
  5. 5. How does it work? • Semantic understanding is taken into account. • The most obvious way Google can understand this is through the use of location; “SEO Agency London,” for example. • Google also uses machine learning to decipher whether your particular search should render local results or not. • To use the example in a previous slide, “ice cream” is more likely to be a local search whereas “buy books” is less likely. • An improvement in location detection should make the service better. • Google’s Knowledge Graph, reviews, citations, mentions and local directories will all factor into which local results appear. August 14 5
  6. 6. August 14 6 Further Understanding
  7. 7. Why the change? • Google Maps search was often seen as trailing behind in terms of search capabilities, so bringing this up to date was long overdue. • The continued and unabated growth of mobile usage means that more searches are taking place on mobile. • Mobile search is growing, and search engines are having to adapt to accommodate shift in search patterns. August 14 7
  8. 8. How will it affect SEO? • Local businesses may notice a change in web referrals, leads and business from the update. • How drastic this will be is as yet unknown. • More established, authoritative brands may struggle against popular local stores. • For example McDonald’s may be outranked for the term “burger” if there is a particularly popular independent burger restaurant nearby. August 14 8
  9. 9. Next steps • This is currently a US English-only update which we anticipate coming to the UK very soon. This will give us a chance to assess the effects of the update on US sites for feedback to clients. • For some of our clients, shop fronts are very important, as such, having a complete Google Places page as well as an active Google+ page is integral. • This way, Google can find you, searchers can find you and, if there is a buzz around your Google+ page, you are more likely to rank well for certain searches. August 14 9
  10. 10. Further reading • pigeon-strengthens-local-search/ • engine-lands-name-new-google-local-search- update-197932 • search-algorithm-updated-18904.html August 14 10
  11. 11. @makeittweet /MakeItRainLondon @makeitrainuk Thanks August 14 11