Last?month Google pushed out a new and considerably major update for local searches which has since been labelled the ?Pigeon? update within the industry.? Many of the details of this update are yet to be disclosed but it has been reported there are considerable changes to the local rankings in the last few days.

What do we already know about this update and how does it affect businesses?

Google confirmed that the update was rolled out on 24 July 2014 originally for US English results with an aim as ever to provide a much more accurate and relevant local search result.? Unlike other updates such as Panda and Penguin this is not an update in an attempt to remove low quality content but a core one in an attempt to change the algorithm of local searches.

To give you a good idea of this update the details have been compiled below for those website owners that have been affected by this change.

  1. Lower number of queries. Regarded as one of the key changes; users are seeing a much lower number of queries on their SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).? So if you have experienced a massive decrease in website traffic this may well be done to the disappearance of local listings for your business and may be necessary to recover any traffic losses with a PPC campaign.
  1. Local rankings are likely to have more dependence on website authority. The new algorithm is likely to be linked in with traditional search engine ranking signals.? In other words local rankings are very likely to be affected by your domain authority, any backlinks and other search engine optimisation ranking factors.? You can run a competition research to check how your content and other SEO information ranks in comparison to those of much high ranking websites.
  1. Local directories such as Yelp are enjoying a boost in ranking.?Directory sites such as Yelp are enjoying a boost in rankings due to this update as it seems many SERPS are built entirely around local directories.? Local directories are vital to building a business presence.? It is recommended that you look for those local directories that specialise in your business niche and rank highly for your targeted keywords after this crucial update.
  2. No updates to local carousel. Unlike local listings packs, results from the local carousel remain to be unaffected and the frequency of when your business appears will remain the same as prior to the update.? Therefore this is a fantastic way to gain exposure for many local keywords.? Include a nice high re picture on your Google + business profile to encourage potential customers to review you and your business.? Although you should bear in mind that the local carousel only represents 1% of keyword search results.

Although there are some major changes, the general principles of local SEO continue to remain the same.? If you haven?t already get a Google + account to ensure you are included in the local index on Google.

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