Google’s Pigeon Update Solves Yelp Problem, Boosts Local Directories

Chris Marentis
Chris Marentis Founder, CEO, Surefire Social

Posted on August 20th 2014

Google’s Pigeon Update Solves Yelp Problem, Boosts Local Directories

It is more important than ever to be visible on Yelp these days. Google recently launched a major search algorithm update for local English-based search results in the U.S. The update is more than just another tweak to Google’s main algorithm, which seems to be tweaked about every 10 seconds. The Pigeon update has a substantial impact on organic listings for local businesses on Google Web Search and Google Map Search.

Before any panic ensues, it is important to remember what Google has always been about, increased relevancy. The Pigeon update includes spelling corrections, traditional search ranking signals, and relevancy improvements regarding geographic location. Even more important, the update should solve an issue that has caused online unrest and ugliness recently. It will solve the “Yelp problem”.

The Yelp Problem with Google Search Relevancy

Yelp recently accused Google of putting its search results and reviews on Google+ before Yelp’s, even when the word “yelp” was typed in the search box. The Pigeon update appears to give all local search directories preferential rankings in search results. Additionally, its focus on geographic location and distance was intended to solve the Yelp issue.

The Impact the Pigeon Update Will Have on Local Businesses

As expected, Google did not give a clear statement regarding the impact the update will have on local businesses but it’s not the end of the world. Webmasters, SEOs, and business owners have noticed a sudden difference in site rankings. However, getting on the first page of Google might not be the best strategy for local business owners. Perhaps things would be better if small business owners focused on getting a top slot on one of the most popular local business listing services, such as Yelp.

Rethinking Google Rankings and Relevancy

Is it better to have top rankings on top local business listing services or Google Search? It’s a new debate, which has recently become more prevalent. To be honest, continual top rankings on Google Search for meaningful keywords might not be a very viable internet marketing strategy anymore.

Instead of trying to beat Google’s algorithm (good luck), it might be best for small business owners to focus on local business listing services. Create a profile, post some picture, and encourage customers to write reviews. Small business owners should continue to focus on their businesses, not the Pigeon update. However, the update could provide local business owners some incentive to rethink SEO strategy.

Great Reviews on Local Business Listing Services Are More Important than Ever

Get customers and clients excited about something different than a page one ranking. Go back to basics, and stop trying to decode every little alteration Google makes. Numerous local businesses should rethink their online marketing strategies. After all, the online world is continuing to merge with the real world. A line outside the door of a brick and mortar store might become synonymous with hundreds of rave reviews.

About the Yelp Issue and the Pigeon Update

True to its design, Google continues to strive for relevant searches. Obviously, a search that includes the words “New York, pizza, yelp reviews” is probably looking for reviews on Yelp. The Pigeon update fixed the glitch and solved the Yelp problem. 

 

Chris Marentis

Chris Marentis

Founder, CEO, Surefire Social

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, Founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. With a long-history of counseling local businesses about their marketing efforts, Marentis provides insight on what it takes for small businesses to succeed and thrive in today’s evolving digital environment. His notable career includes creating the foundational blueprints for online marketing, e-commerce and content branding for AOL's Interactive Marketing group, where he served as Senior Vice President. While CEO of Clearspring Technologies, Marentis developed one of the most widely adopted venture-backed Web 2.0 technology platforms. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.

 

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