Survive Your Serving of Google’s Pigeon Pie
July 31st, 2014 by
Late last week, influencer Erika Karas wrote an informative blog about Google’s algorithm update, Pigeon. The new Pigeon update might make it more difficult for individual businesses to rank among sites that Google deems more useful and relevant to local searchers’ results. Most local directories received a boost in rankings thanks to Pigeon. It makes sense if you consider the fact that when most people search for things like “pizza New Orleans,” they want to see a list of their options along with reviews, making sites like Yelp and Zagat more relevant than just a link to one pizza place in the area.
So, how can you make sure you stay relevant with this in mind? First, search for common phrases that your targeted audience looks for. Next, see what sites Google is ranking highest and get your business on there with detailed and correct information.
In the research I’ve done since the algorithm update, these are the sites I’ve found most often: Yelp, Zagat, Urbanspoon, Thumbtack, TripAdvisor, and Yellowpages. For obvious reasons, Google Plus is the first place your listings should be claimed and optimized. Yellowpages and Yelp are also great places to start, because they both have backend business portals that make it easy to claim and update your listings. They also require phone verifications by the business, which makes them more authoritative and trusted by Google. It’s best to provide as much information as possible in these listings and be consistent in the information you provide. Your name, address, phone number, website, and hours of operation should all be the same on your listings as they are on your website.
Also, look out for categorical sites like HealthGrades, RateADentist, HomeAway, and the like that are relevant to your industry. You might want to look into getting your business on these industry sites, as they will also play a key role in rankings post-Pigeon. In some of my Pigeon research, I noticed our golf and dental clients were affected the most. These clients were pushed down in rankings in favor of categorical sites like RateADentist and GolfNow.
Although these tips aren’t guaranteed to aid your rankings, they will help keep you relevant and appearing among industry-specific results.
Hi Mary – nice post! this is really interesting given the long term decline in traffic/users that IYPs/directories have seen (see post link below on this)
Google has been squeezing the visibility & traffic that it gives to directories for 2-3 years now, deeming their results to often be thin of content & non-unique. These local directories essentially compete with Google+ Local for providing local listing info & reviews so it’s an odd decision for Google to gift back traffic to them.
Do you have any insight on the reasons for the change? I wonder if it’s driven by user feedback – i.e. they want more local options to explore at the research phase of purchase cycle. Or maybe this is a stepping stone to a more Machiavellian ending – reducing visibility for local websites => more engagement with Google+ Local (Google MyBusiness) => more uptake of Adwords Express.
Here’s that link i mentioned above – http://www.brightlocal.com/2014/02/14/traffic-changes-local-directories-iyps/
Thanks! I’d be interested to know the real reasons for this change as well, but I presume it’s just the ongoing attempts of Google to increase user satisfaction. I assumer they had data showing that users clicked on sites like Yelp more often that domains when doing local keyword searches like “pizza new orleans” (probably to get a broad overview of reviews and ratings) and so they deemed those results more relevant to users.