Last year’s Google Hummingbird update sought to change the way users interacted with the search engine by focusing more on providing answers to questions than matching keywords. The Pigeon Update, released on July 24th, has a smaller scope but still has relevance in maximizing the online exposure of your company’s brand. Google’s intent with Pigeon is to identify searches with local intent, for example “burger Evanston”, and provide more accurate results specific to Evanston instead of just Burger King and McDonalds.
Optimize Long-Tail Keywords
Now that you understand the update’s overarching goal, it is essential to learn more about how the specific components will affect your day to day approach to SEM. Firstly, make sure to take a good look at your paid traffic because the recent update has caused shifts in traffic patterns in an effort to make results more locally relevant. A good way to ensure you don’t lose traffic, on top of traditional SEO, is working on long-tail, or longer and more precise keywords. There are over 60 trillion pages indexed by Google so the more you can incorporate long-tail keywords such as “leather L-shaped couch” over “couch” in your ad campaigns, the more you can carve out a niche and generate a local presence.
Tactile Carousels Over Pack Listings
A major change with the Pigeon update is within the 7 Pack listing, which is the section of the SERP’s listed with business names and contact information. The new update is increasingly taking into account domain authority with these listings, and overall the number of listings per search has changed to point where some searches now only have carousels. The carousel is a row of images on the top of Google search results tied to local directories with reviews and ratings, such as Yelp, that can be scrolled through by users.
Stay Up-to-Date on Local Directories
In 2011 Yelp made accusations against Google that they were not included in SERP’s, even if the users search included the word “Yelp”. With the Pigeon update, Yelp and other local directories are now seeing a projected 5-10% increase in traffic. The most important take away from the Pigeon update is that your business has to take advantage of the local directory systems by including business information and photos while also seeking positive reviews. Moreover Google’s ranking also depends on your Google+ profile, social media interaction and generally your content freshness.
Content is Still King
To that end, it is just as important as before to ensure you have recent, high quality content on your website. While modifying existing content can be helpful, often the problem is not enough content so make sure to focus on producing new and enriching material. Include long-tail keywords, update your profiles on Yelp and Google+ to make them more robust and focus on top-notch, unique content.
Remember there is no way to game the system because Google is constantly adjusting their algorithm to help users, so maintaining strong SEM and SEO consistent with your company’s mission will be the best policy.
For more information or a complimentary SEM analysis, contact Kona Company.