As I’m sure most up-to-date marketers are aware, Google’s pigeon flew the coop recently. (To those of you living under a rock and blissfully ignorant about Pigeon, here you go: http://bit.ly/1shFfeb) Long story short, Google picks and chooses which listings show up at the top based on a complex algorithm that takes into consideration a variety of elements. What caused a business to rank higher in a search in the past, however, is no longer the case. “Pigeon” (dubbed by Search Engine Land) completely changed the game. In the aftermath, several things have become clear:
- It’s all about location, location, location: Hyper-local search results (within a much smaller target radius) are prioritized, sometimes regardless of how big or popular the brand is.
- Local businesses are favored over local brands. This goes for Google searches and Google maps.
- On the heels of complaints that Google was shutting out Yelp, this update allows Yelp a larger presence in search results. Other review and rating sites like Opentable, TripAdvisor and Urbanspoon are also given more weight.
- Because of this, directories play an even bigger role now more than ever. The more accurate and consistent your listing is across all directories, the more likely your brand is going to show up.
If you were affected by Pigeon, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you optimized your Google+ page?
- Are you optimizing your content for your local area?
- Are you slowly and steadily building your review base?
- Is your brand accurately and consistently listed across important directory sites?
- Have you been engaging with your fans on social media?
If you’re not doing the above then it’s time you started! Not sure where to start? We can help! Don’t think that this is the last time Google will shake things up. Be prepared for the next challenge that the internet throws at your brand or else. If Pigeon didn’t get you this time, the next update might… Stay tuned for more and send your questions to the firstname.lastname@example.org!