If you want to know how hard it is to stay on top of all the Google updates, this is what we inbound marketing companies have to deal with:
- 500 Google algorithm updates per year
- 15-20 of them make the news
- Even Matt Cutts, Google’s spokesman, makes mistakes when talking about the latest updates
- These updates don’t always impact websites the way Google says they will, so we have to analyze the real results for clients
Google tends to pick animal names for its updates. Usually, they’re seemingly benign animals, with names like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird.
Google did release the “Pigeon” update, but SEO thought leader Search Engine Land coined the official name.
So What’s the Point of Pigeon?
The whole reason it’s been rolled out is to make local search results more useful and relevant. One concrete example of what’s happened is that the local search pack listings that look like this now appear much less often:
This blog post at Link Assistant says Pigeon means Google now focuses more on traditional domain authority factors as ranking signals for local search listings. To put it simply, domain authority is made of:
- The quality and frequency of content published on your website
- The number of links pointing to your site, and the quality of the websites linking to you
- Getting listed on authoritative local business directory sites like Angie’s List and others relevant to your niche
- Positive customer reviews
- Optimizing everything on your site with as natural of language as possible
What Should You Do to Make Pigeon Happy?
Really, Google’s not changing what you need to do to rank well. They’re doing exactly what they’ve said they would do all along.
When you think of authority websites in ideal terms, envision those websites that are household names like:
- The Huffington Post
“But my site will never attract massive readerships like those!” is your first objection.
You’re right – it won’t. Only a few websites attract such massive audiences. But the point is, the more you aim to be like those niche-leading websites, the better off you’ll be in the search rankings in the long run.
Remember, most local and small businesses do not understand the importance of content. Most also don’t realize what an “awesome website” looks like in the eyes of Google and their users.
If you realize and acknowledge where your website is and where it needs to be, you’ll be ahead of 98% of all other local businesses.