Don’t Become a Pigeon!

When Google rolled out its latest algorithm change, this one known by the ironic name of “Pigeon,” local SEO and organic rankings were affected. How do your provide support and sound advice in the wake of Google’s changes?

What Happened With Pigeon?

Pigeon changed several things including the calculations for distance around a search. In most cases, Google reduced the default radius. That means that you may no longer appear to certain local searchers, and your ranking may be affected by the new radius as well.

It may also appear that spam is being rewarded, but you should report it and not imitate it. Google may take a bit to catch up to the spam, but once it does those sites will be punished.

Ultimately, there may not be enough information to enable anyone to yet say with certainty that there is a “best” way of dealing with Pigeon. Best practices will always win, no matter what algorithms Google uses, and that means having quality content and easy-to-navigate sites that bring users superior value.

If you want more advice for dealing with Pigeon, here is a checklist:

1) Stay tuned to local blogs and forums so that you can interact with those immediately around you.

2) Focus more on less competitive terms to boost your local rankings.

3) Strive to build more organic authority, particularly if the SERP now shows three results rather than five or seven. Do not be disheartened if you are now on page 2; you have done the right things to get where you are, and more work will bring you to the top!

4) Report spam to Google. The more people who report spammy websites, the more likely it is the Google will take action to penalize them. In fact, reporting spam is helping Google speed up the process of getting you back to the top.

5) Have clean, consistent citations for all your local directories. Take the time to be sure your name, address, phone, website, email and other demographic information is consistent across all platforms you use. Be sure to focus on top directories like Yelp as well as Google’s own Places.

6) Build offline relationships that will translate into more business for you and better referrals. You would be surprised how much you can gain from word-of-mouth. Hand out cards with your website and offer online services at every opportunity to drive business to your site.