Just over a month ago on July 24, 2014, Google released an update to their local algorithm dubbed Pigeon. When this algorithm was released Google started taking more traditional organic signals into consideration for the local ranking factors. Whenever there is a major algorithm update you can generally expect to see some crap results for a couple of weeks in the SERP’s. In this instance there seemed to be a higher number of crap results or “Pigeon Poo” as Mike Blumenthal put it. Here we are just over a month later and let’s see what types of changes we have seen.

On July 25th of last month I wrote a post about some of these crap results including a search for the keyword “Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney” which returned results that were pretty crappy. Below is a screenshot from last month’s search of this keyword:

Crap Pigeon Update Results


Below is the screenshot I took today:

Google Pigeon Update one Month Later

Sadly in this case there has really only gotten worse after its been settled for a month. Previously there were two listings in the local pack that were Lawyers.com and Avvo.com with the same phone number, but now one of these has actually raised which is likely causing them to get a lot of new case leads. Conducting similar searches in areas such as San Diego and even New York you will see similar results. We are also still seeing results like ZocDoc.com ranking for Dentist NYC.

So When Will This Change?

If you’re working in these industries or others with a problem it can definitely be a very frustrating experience. But when Google does crack down on these issues they usually come down hard on the offenders. Don’t be fooled by short term gains by trying to manipulate the SERP’s.

What Can You Do?

Really what you should be doing now is keep doing the right things. We now know that since this update traditional organic signals carry more weight and the page authority of your G+ landing page is a very strong metric now.

Earn High Quality Links

Link building is not dead although it has changed. Don’t try to build links from directories and articles. Instead focus your efforts towards creating quality content for links. If you’re interested in getting a higher page authority you need to earn high quality links. Here are a couple of things you can do if you don’t know where to start.

  • Sign up for HelpaReporter.com and respond to every request in your niche. If you don’t already support a cause in a strong way find something you’re passionate about. Write about it and conduct interviews on it. Media interviews come with a link to your website in most cases.
  • Sponsor a local charity that you believe in their cause. A lot of times they will link back to you for your support.
  • Produce long form content that showcases a strong expertise in your industry and share it with interested audiences.
  • Give Away Your Secrets – Give away your business secrets and be willing to share information others keep hidden. This will showcase your expertise, create followers, and help you grow your exposure online.

    There is no shortcut for good link building which is what differentiates it from the other guys. You need a long term strategy in place and you need to follow through with it to help build your authority.

Make Sure Your On Page is In Order

On-site Optimization as far as traditional organic ranking factors is now more important for local than ever. Make sure your Page Titles, Descriptions, Content, H1’s, and other factors are all in order. Many people are still stuck in the old days with duplicate content, repeating content, and thin content. You should have cleaned this up a year ago but if you didn’t make sure to start now.

Sometimes these updates are wins for those doing it right and other times it’s not so good. All you can do is keep on trucking on and making sure you’re adhering to Google Guidelines.

August 26, 2014 | Local SEO

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