Penryn, 4th September, 2014 - Businesses are warned to prepare for the next round of Google updates, which will in some cases dramatically change the search rankings that they rely on for new business. The new Google algorithm change has already been rolled out in the US, but is still to be applied in the UK and Europe, meaning that UK (Cornish) businesses have some time to prepare for its impact, says SEO specialist at web agency Channel Digital - Hollie Gibson.
Hollie explains: "Signs from the US are that the update affects local search the most strongly, with a lower number of "Google Local" search results being shown, and a lower proportion of searches triggering those Google local results. These results are the ones with Google map pins near the top of the results page, as these are the listings that will be in many cases removed."
"It appears that Google are trying to give more prominence both to local business directories such as Yelp, and also to "Localised" pages of a web site, or the pages that actually mention the place in which your business operates."
The Pigeon update does not apply penalties for poor practice as such, as was the case with previous Panda and Penguin updates, but there will still be winners and losers. The businesses that have the most to do will mainly be smaller ones that are relying on generating local business, particularly where they are currently benefitting from the "Google Local" results. The actions for a business to take are broadly as follows:
- If you already have an SEO agency provider, talk to them about mitigating the impact of the pigeon update, and safeguarding your business against it.
- If you have in house people looking after your SEO or web site, or if you are a smaller business and do it yourself, you should make a particular effort to get your site listed in more and more decent quality local directories. There is a list of a few of these on Channel's web site below to help get you started. Yelp and Hotfrog are a couple of popular examples.
- Your web site itself will also become more important if you have been relying on the "Local" search results. If you offer your services or products in a particular locality, you should ensure that locality is mentioned on the pages. It may be worth restructuring your site to have a page for each locality, if you offer services in several places. If your web site is NOT ranking well in its own right for "local" searches: i.e. " Burger Restaurant in Birmingham" (Truro), then now would be a good time to work on those rankings, but adding good relevant written content to the site, and new links to it from good quality and industry relevant sites.
- Your Google local page would also benefit from some attention. It will need to be better to compete for less available display slots. Make sure you have good text about your business, well selected categories, images, and have populated all the data you can. Also try to get reviews from customers for your Google local page (log in to see how), as this is an important factor for Google in determining which local listings to show.
The above represents a brief view of the impact of the Pigeon update, which is expected to be rolled out in Europe in the coming months.
About Channel Digital
Channel Digital is a full service digital marketing agency based in Cornwall, UK, and offering design and build of web sites and web applications, eCommerce, SEO web and email marketing, Social Media and support, all in a friendly and professional manner, and with our clients' best interests at heart.
Author: Hollie Gibson
Company: Channel Digital Limited
Phone: 01326 567150