In case you haven’t heard, on the 24th July, Google launched a new algorithm update in its English search engine within the US market. It hasn’t actually been given any official title as yet, but the online news hub, Search Engine Land, has decided to adopt it as ‘Pigeon’.
In a nutshell, the Pigeon update essentially produces more accurate results for local search queries, and provides more emphasis on the listings of local directories such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. For example, if someone were looking for ‘pizza delivery services’, they would find results that are much closer to home, rather than the big chains that may not in fact be located in their village.
The new local search algorithm has been created using a combination of hundreds of traditional ranking signals such as domain authority, spelling corrections and synonyms, so there is no real way to manipulate the results in your favour, accept adding your location in all your website page metas for example, and ensuring that your business is listed in as many local directories as possible, including registering your website with Google Maps, and creating a Google+ Local page (make sure you collect plenty of customer reviews too!).
This is not a penalty-based update, so is unlikely to have many negative effects on a website’s current position in the SERP’s, especially when compared to the likes of Panda or Penguin, which not only destroyed rankings for may websites worldwide, but also eliminated websites from them altogether. That said, Pigeon is already receiving some mixed reviews. Being driven by local searches, the main types of businesses that will be affected (whether for the better or the worse) will be restaurants, hotels and local delivery services for example. These types of companies and other local business should therefore significantly benefit from the new update, hopefully receiving an increase in leads and referrals, however, it is feared that if these businesses already have a website that is listed in Google, they may in fact lose position to the bigger directory websites, therefore making it much harder to compete for the top positions.
Many hotels are already finding it difficult to compete with their geographical based keyword such as ‘hotels malaga’, without being confronted with reams of directories such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, Lastminute.com etc, so it will be interesting to see what happens.
Google have not stated whether they will be rolling out the update to the rest of the world, so we have not idea when it is likely to come to Spain and influence the Google.es SERP’s, however, I think we can safely say that Pigeon will be flying its way over here at some point, so it’s always best to be ready!