Google “Pigeon” Update 2014

Google has confirmed that on July 24th for US English results they have begun rolling out a new update to their search algorithm that people are calling (The Pigeon Update). This update has the aim to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results. Unlike the famed Panda and Penguin updates this is a core change to the algorithm as opposed to a penalty based update.

Moving forward it appears to be giving even more credit to quality content and reinstalling credit to page and domain authority. For SEO’s who are doing it right this is a welcome update however for those of you who are heavily dependent on the “Local Map Pack” for driving traffic to your website this could have a negative impact as the amount of search queries that are including the Map Pack have been drastically reduced.

Traditional ranking factors like page authority and a strong and relevant back link profile have become more important. The thing you have to remember with Google is that they are genuinely trying to give you the customer the best and most relevant search results for your queries. That being said this could be a great update for webmasters and SEO companies that practice only the most long lasting and true tactics for boosting their customer’s online profile.

Companies that will likely receive a strong boost are the online business review websites like Yelp, Tip Advisor and The Urban Spoon. Google seems to believe that the reviews in those places are of relevant and important consideration for the consumers. This means that there is now even more importance on making sure that you have customers providing positive reviews on these review sites or that you are responding in kind to any negative reviews that you may have. As a business owner these review websites are a great barometer for how customers are perceiving your product or services.  

That being said many of these review sites are largely made up of angry or scorned customers who need a venue to vent their displeasure. Make sure that you are aware of how your business is being portrayed on these sites and if you have an option to give a response to an unhappy former customer do so and offer a reason for them to give you another shot. Sometimes things go wrong in business but if you are openly trying to rectify issues it shows your commitment to providing excellent service.

As an SEO I am glad to see that Google is putting some favor in the traditional old school ranking factors while still pushing forward with content quality. I have never minded the penalty based updates as I have never been inflicted by such but focusing on what is positive for a business is always a welcome change.

By Chris Kerr Edmonton SEO