If you own a local business, your Google search ranking might be improving.
Google has apparently refined its search-engine algorithms in recent months, and, in the process, given local businesses a higher Google page ranking. Dubbed the “Pigeon update” by SEO experts, the latest changes particularly favor local businesses that use Google marketing tools and business listings, such as Google+ and Google My Business. As Search Engine Journal explains:
Before Pigeon, there was a strong chance that searching for pizza restaurants in Boise will return listings for major brands such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut towards the top of the [search engine results page or SERP]. In the post-Pigeon era, search results that are authoritatively local will be more prominently featured … and they will be enhanced with relevant content. Pizza restaurants in Boise that have a verified presence on Google’s own social network, Google Plus (G+), will benefit from having their menus, reviews and photographs shown on the SERP. To this end, local business owners will definitely want to ensure that they are doing their share of content marketing and social media engagement on G+.
The Pigeon update also apparently gives a nice boost to businesses’ Yelp, TripAdvisor and other local directory and customer review sites—all the more reason for business owners to closely monitor the reviews customers are leaving online.
The latest Google search algorithm changes are sure to please local business owners who have been frustrated to see their web sites buried in search results. However, it also means Google is getting better at surfacing all content and pages related to local businesses. (Some local businesses may have also seen their Google page ranking worsen due to the updates, Search Engine Land points out.)
Businesses will want to maximize the local marketing tools available to them—particularly their Google listings—to ensure their search results provide the relevant information customers and prospective customers are looking for.
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