The Google Pigeon update sent plenty of businesses reeling in confusion when suddenly several of their locations were no longer ranking for their favorite keywords,were ranking for different keywords, or they may have just dropped off the map completely. Pigeon marks a large shift in the local search algorithm, so there are a lot of factors that can contribute to a ranking drop. However, although it may have caused some immediate drops, it does in fact put local search on better ground than ever. Here’s how you can identify what you’re doing wrong so you can get the ball rolling and take advantage of the landscape.
Directories benefitted in a hugeway with the unrolling of the Pigeon algorithm in August. Yelp got a huge boost in rankings, but other directories got a boost too, such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Kayak. You may see directories even surpassing your social media accounts in searches for your location.That means if you have bad reviews, they are going to be front and center of your business’s online reputation. However, if you’ve got stellar reviews, then this update is your moment to shine.
The 7-pack is the grouping of traditionally 7 local listings for a local search term on the SERP. Blumenthal’s found that the search radius for this listing of locations was reduced greatly after Pigeon, such as only shops in a specific neighborhood of a larger city.That means you may have to market your shop as more of a niche than it was. As well, in many searches, the 7-pack is reduced to a 3-pack, such as this search for “cafe madison”.If you check out Moz’s eye tracking study from 2014, these “packs” take up a large portion of where searchers are looking, so this reduced pack is a hit for site visibility. Those 3 spots are going to become more competitive real estate on the local level.
How to improve
Geographic markup on schema
This is a few lines of code that a site-owner implements right into the HTML of the site. This markup lets the searcher know the physical location that complements a site, and is visible on the SERP page beneath the listing header.Â Google claims it isn’t being used as a ranking signal, but SEOs know that it increases your visibility, and that can be crucial in the post-Pigeon landscape that puts location information front and center and integrates them with maps.
Create a Google My Business Listing
Formerly known as Google Places, a Google My Business Listing also incredibly useful in the map search, since plenty of users search on the app when searching the closest physical stores for a given need, like “computer repair”. Your markup will put you in the running with those local competitors.It also shows reviews and a star rating, which doesn’t affect your search results placement directly, but does make viewers take notice when you have a huge group of results. The best ratings are going to shine.
Write Content for a Location
Putting your locations on your pages is helpful, but in a larger metropolitan area, it just isn’t going to cut it. Instead, adjust your content marketing strategy to include location-specific content. For example, if you’re a law office in the Chicago area, you can post a blog article about local law resources, your firm’s work with the local library to provide support for low-income families, and perhaps posts related to local crime.
Link to relevant local partners
Google still uses links to create a digital landscape of relevance. Link to sites that are your partners in the local scene, however, don’t over do it. Google will notice, and may hand you a penalty.
Promote participation in directories
Link your Yelp reviews directly to your site. Promote to users on your site to leave a review, as well as leaving a reminder for your customers at your physical location.The prominence of the new importance of these listings means that you will need to establish yourself in a larger network.As well, this will help establish your prominence in a certain niche.
Enacting these tips put you in a position to become not just a local shop, but a local presence. Use Google’s interest in furthering user intent to recognize what users want when they are doing local searches for your industry, and how you can fill the niche that they create. With these changes, Google gives the small store a chance at grabbing the searcher’s attention perhaps even more than the chain store or large company.