Search engine giants, Google rolled out their local search algorithm update, commonly referred to as Pigeon in the US earlier this year on July 24, and has now expanded its reach to the United Kingdom as well as Canada and Australia and all English locales, with the exception of India. Signs of the Pigeon update appearing in the UK were first spotted by BrightLocal last week.
The effects of the update are expected to be far reaching with Search Engine Land reporting that 58% of local marketers expecting to change tactics after the Pigeon update. Generally the update is seen as a positive change to local search for both businesses and searchers, with a tighter geographic radius of results which would appear to suggest greater targeting of results.
Large & Small Businesses
We reported earlier in the year on the Pigeon’s earlier release that a greater emphasis would be placed on the location of the searcher, and that results would be more closely linked to this, which could produce a damaging effect to larger chains, whilst smaller, local outlets will feasibly benefit from a rise in prominence and rankings.
With larger organisations often benefitting from greater resources in financial and knowledge terms, we would suggest that such organisations will not be hurt in a significant manner, based on their own brand reputation.
Complaints of increased spam have emerged surrounding the update, which is not a good result for anybody. However local search expert Mike Blumenthal sought to play down much of the furore surrounding this emergence, highlighting that many Google updates have typically seen increased amounts of spam.
The timing of the Pigeon update is somewhat strange, being throughout the Christmas period, but its rollout in the UK serves to highlight further the importance of search engine optimisation for local businesses.
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