Google Pigeon update

Introduction

If you were to ask a number of marketing agencies before the Google Pigeon update, what they thought were the most important ranking signals, they would have undoubtedly said a business would need a lot of business citations, and a well optimised Google My Business account.

How things have changed since then. The Google Pigeon update, which was released on August 20th 2013, changed how agencies implement local seo for good.

Blending Google’s local algorithm with their organic algorithm

SEO’s got used to seeing 7 local businesses being displayed in the local business results, and then the organic business listings shown directly below- yet the Pigeon update changed all that.

Pigeon was designed to connect Google’s local algorithm, more closely to their organic algorithm.

Reduction of the 7-pack

For some businesses, they were happy for a long time to neglect their organic rankings, and instead focus was shifted on their business was position within the 7-pack of local businesses.

What this meant was this, say for example the business in question was a 24-hour locksmith, and you had top placement in Google’s local business results within your city, well this might have all changed when the Pigeon update was later implemented.

Not only was the 7-pack of local businesses often reduced down to just 3 local businesses, but also the results were often based more accurately on where the person was.

So for example, say a business was based in Llanishen, within Cardiff, they might not have appeared for Locksmith services within Cardiff, if the person was based in Cardiff Bay.

So how did agencies respond to such changes?

First things first, business citations are still to this day very important, but they are not the main focus when it comes to any local seo strategy.

That’s because the Google Pigeon update meant that SEO’s now had to think of local search engine optimisation in the same way as they would when optimising organic rankings.

This simply means the focus was shifted from just adding new business citations, and optimising Google My Business accounts, through to instead optimising more traditional ranking signals, that are well known to influence organic rankings as well.

So, in essence there are now over 200+ ranking signals to influence that effect both local and organic seo.

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