The new Google algorithm update which Search Engine Land have dubbed the “Google Pigeon Update” is aimed specifically at local search. We currently don’t know all of the effects that this update is going to have but from what we can see so far it looks as if local directory sites are getting the most benefit from the algorithm. Yelp in particular, seem to have benefited, searches with “Yelp” in the search query now see Yelp listings appearing in the top positions, which was not previously the case.
SEO fans or regular readers maybe aware of Yelp’s recent accusations, claiming that Google was favouring its own search results ahead of the content of Yelp pages, even when users specifically included “Yelp” in their searches.
It is not only Yelp which appear to be benefiting from but other local directory sites is well. A search that Search Engine Land conducted for “Seattle restaurants” showed directory style sites like Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and OpenTable in the top of the results and then even lesser known directory pages from Seattle newspapers and magazines on page one. An individual restaurant didn’t show in the search results until page three.
From what we can see this Google Pigeon Update is already having a major impact on local search results. If you own a directory site this update could be very good for your websites ranking and you could see them improve in the coming months. If you own a local business you could begin to see your ranking suffer in the coming months, if they haven’t already. Currently this new algorithm is only being rolled out for US English results, Google say its main aim is to benefit searchers looking for local results by providing a more useful and relevant experience.
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