Last month, Google pushed out a new major algorithm update – Pigeon (name coined by Search Engine Land). It’s actually an update which impacts local search. Rolling out search updates has now become quite synonymous with Google, because it’s now happening very quickly and consistently. Webmasters are always on their toes so that they don’t miss out on a single algorithm update and make the most of it before it’s too late.

If you run an online business or have a website to represent your offline business, it’s crucial that you understand what Pigeon update actually means, how it can affect your search rankings and what steps you should take to adapt to the latest update so that you can drive more online traffic.

About the Pigeon
According to Google itself, the Pigeon local search algorithm has been launched with an aim to providing users more useful, pertinent and accurate local search results. These local search results are closely associated with the traditional search ranking signals. You can see the changes both while using Google Maps search and Google web search results.

Google has first rolled out the new update only for US English results. Soon, you may expect to see the update roll out on a global level. One thing is sure that the Pigeon update does impact local search results.

Google Pigeon

Yelp Problem Has Been Solved!
Recently, Yelp (a popular online urban guide and business review site) mad some startling accusations that Google was not showing its pages in search results even when users included the word ‘Yelp’ in their queries.

For example, when users searched with a term “gary danko yelp”, Google returned the restaurant’s official website at the top along with multiple links to Google+ content. After the launch of the Pigeon update, however, that Yelp problem also seems to have been fixed. Yelp pages are once again appearing at the top of Google search results when someone specifically uses ‘Yelp’ in their query. What’s more, it’s not just Yelp that has benefited from the update. There are also many other local directories that have noticed a boost in rankings.

What to Do Now (SEO Tips)
In the wake of the Google’s Pigeon update, you may have already noticed an increase or decrease in your business’ local listings. In case your website has been suffering from a traffic drop over the last few weeks, it may also be due to the disappearance of some of your local listings.

So, what should you do to regain your lost local search rankings? Of course, running a PPC campaign is one of the most obvious options. If you’re thinking for the long term, however, you should start optimizing your website for local keywords that are relevant to your business. It’s just the right time to evaluate your site’s ranking status and take action now.

As mentioned above, the local search results are closely tied with traditional web search ranking signals. This really means that local search results are no more a stand-alone entity. In fact, your local search results now depend on the domain authority, links pointing back to the domain and other search ranking factors of your website. Therefore, you should gear up to increase the authority of your website as a whole to boost your local search rankings.

On the other hand, it’s also evident that local carousel is an excellent way to gain more exposure for your online business or website. Though the best practices or SEO tips for local search optimization remain the same, you must give local carousel a serious consideration. For example, your Google+ business profile should be properly optimized (along with high quality images) while you should also encourage your customers to review your business more and more. The more positive reviews your business has, the bigger influence you’ll build as far as ranking your website in local search results is concerned. At the same time, you should also plan a solid content strategy so that you don’t lose out in getting the most out of other popular local directories.