Shake Up Your SEO Strategy Post-Pigeon
In the wake of Google’s most recent set of algorithm changes, your traffic and engagement rates may be spiralling out of control – and not in a good way. This is a common effect for many after any adjustment by Google, as even the smallest changes in ranking criteria or weight can create a completely new set of SERPs for any query. The primary effect that Pigeon has had on the search engine optimization environment relates to local search, which excludes a large number of people. If you are not so fortunate as to not have been affected by Google’s Pigeon update, then you’ll want to continue reading to find out how you can make some simple changes in strategy to get back on track.
Business Reviews Are Dominating Local Search
In an attempt to continue making search results more and more relevant, local searches by Google’s users were impacted most of all in the update. While we still don’t understand all of the nuanced changes that were made, we can definitely tell that there is an uptick in the prominence of reviews from places like Google and Yelp since the Pigeon update. Some simple changes you can make include promoting more review-based material on your website, sharing customer reviews (both in text form and the off-site reviews via links), and be sure to communicate on a regular basis with your followers via blog replies (and any other medium as well, although SEO potential in these areas is negligible or zero). In order to squeeze back into the top rankings, you’ll need to act how these review portals do and act how customers would expect when receiving prompt service.
Map Results Are Becoming More Local
Another local tweak made by Pigeon that many are noticing is the range in which you’ll automatically see search results in SERP maps. While this may seem like a big change, it won’t affect your broader efforts of ranking in search or on maps for a precise location. Because of this, you can continue pinging servers with the same tactics that you have previously used. These include verifying your business through Google, ensuring that you have at least one local page for each location you are targeting – rather than trying to associate all areas on one page or site, and avoiding any duplication of content on each local page in question. The main effect here will be that the range at which results for your business will display has been reduced; this should not be impacting urban SERPs or SERPs targeting specific suburban or rural areas either.
Take Advantage of Carousel
Oddly enough, the only local SEO weapon that webmasters are not reporting any major changes in perceived results is Carousel, which makes it a prime area on which to continue focusing. This feature still provides ample ranking opportunity in local results, so be sure to continue engaging in constant communication and interaction through Carousel-related review sites. Zagat is one of the two elements Carousel uses to assess and aggregate results (with verified businesses also being featured due to Google My Business). In combination with the effects that reviews are now having on prominence in local search, maintaining a strong SEO strategy in Carousel is a double-whammy.