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Affordable Search Engine Optimisation Consultant

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Yes, you read it right. This avian creature might be a common sight in British gardens, but it’s now causing quite a stir in cyberspace. Digital marketers and business owners are glued to this new update from Google. A first for its local search algorithm, this recent release aims to provide accurate and relevant results. Current distance and location from parameters have been significantly improved. The tweak closely incorporates traditional ranking signals. In addition, it also ties in more with other existing features such as spelling correction, synonyms and the Knowledge Graph.

Apart from SERPS listings, changes are also evident on Google Maps results.

The Pigeon Update’s impact has already begun to manifest in local search rankings. Consequently, some local businesses may detect an increase or decrease in both leads and web site referrals. However, local directory sites are “riding on its wings”. They’ve been given a boost in terms of online visibility. This has invariably fixed the problem Google had with Yelp.

To refresh your memory, Yelp had earlier accused Google of manipulating listings that appear on its SERP. The company that tags itself as an “online urban guide” said that the search engine giant showed its own local listing (via Google +) even when the query specifically asked for content from the review site. Now that Pigeon has swooped in, this has ceased to be an issue. Today, Yelp.com pages can now be seen on the topmost portion (directly below the ads) when a query includes the word “Yelp”.

Expect these other specific changes as well:

  • For some hotel and restaurant searches, the carousel (at the top of SERPS) contains local businesses. This is followed by directory style web pages.
  • However, for other searches like “pizza delivery”, organic results on page one show individual business establishments.

Clearly, all the information provided above leads to the following conclusions:

  • A local business’s website that has strong SEO signals will experience a ranking boost.
  • If otherwise, that same site would definitely be outranked by others.

This then raises the question, “What constitutes strong ranking signals?”

There are several actually. Just to mention a few — good quality content, reputable backlinks and social network mentions. If you’re enterprise is operating locally, now would certainly be a good time to invest in a diversified online marketing strategy. It’s no longer enough to set up accounts for social media. To attract people (your community or circles) to your posts, they must be enticing.  Promote those original and informative blog articles on your Facebook business page and Twitter page.

As of press time, the Penguin Update has already been rolled out for US English results. No details have been given as to when it would start affecting other languages in other countries. Also, the search engine giant hasn’t made a comment when asked about the percentage of queries affected by the change. No word too on whether spam targeting algorithms were included.

For those who don’t know yet, this local search update is still “nameless”. By that we mean that Google has yet to christen its newest addition to the Panda-Penguin cluster. The name Pigeon was provided by leading SEO news source Search Engine Land after seeing that the tweak was going to affect the online world on a rather major scale.



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