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Thread: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    The update seems to have jogged a lot of listings. I'm seeing companies who couldn't rank in the pack before (dupes, violations, etc) but could rank well in organic have shaken out.

    I could see this being a refresh and then the violations coming back into play at some point. I think it's telling that the algorithm hasn't made it to Canada yet. I imagine there will be more tweaking going on soon.

    ---------- Post Merged at 05:54 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 05:41 PM ----------

    Wow...

    Had to come back and post this.

    I track the chiropractic SERPS a lot. I track a city that has a very generic name, meaning that many cities in many different states have this same name.

    After doing a "chiropractor city" search, 7/10 of the website search results return chiropractors in another state. 3 different states to be precise. The local packs still return the correct city in question but the website search results are highly inaccurate.

    What a search quality snafu. Big mistake there.

    This is why it's not in Canada yet.

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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    I also just checked a client of mine who wants to rank in a city he doesn't have an address in. Before now, we were only able to ranking organically of course.

    Now? We're ranking in the 7 pack.

    I think this lines up with Google talking about paying more attention to web signals. They seem to be trying to include websites in the 7 pack if their website is relevant even if they aren't physically in the city as long as they are close (we are about 100 yards from the "city border").

    That's actually a huge search quality improvement in my opinion.

    The irony though is that below the 7 pack is a business in the web search results that's located in Denver, CO. The query is for Tennessee

    Google is still confused on the location of businesses based on their website.

    It seems like maybe they opened the 7 pack to be more inclusive and then dialed that up way too much in the website search results. When they talk about the "local algo" many, including myself, had always thought they meant the local pack.

    I'm now wondering if the local algo actually governs the entire set of search results for the local queries, not just the subset of the 7 pack.

    Very interesting and intriguing happenings.

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    Colan Nielsen (07-29-2014),Eric Rohrback (07-29-2014)

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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    Quote Originally Posted by 21Development View Post
    Hopefully it's just a bug, but I doubt it in this case. If you search "real estate consultant" and have location set, you *should* get a pack (*it is today). I imagine that Google sees an "agent" or "agency" as part of a larger company that may not need their own listing (whether that's correct or not is beside the point). The term "consultant" suggests an independent office/business. I could be waaaaay off base here, but that's what the data is telling me so far.
    I was hoping someone would bring this up! You're not way off base, I think you've hit the nail on the head. This has been something we've been expecting for a while. A BIG issue (in Canada at least) is that the Real Estate Board of Canada does not allow individual realtors/real estate professionals to call themselves "Real Estate Agents" because the company is the "Agent" and they (the individual) are a "sales representative". The big issue is that searchers still call a "sales representative" and "Real estate agent" and that's what they'll use when they search. So technically, removing individual agents from the pack/results is "legally correct", while leaving registered realtors in the pack for realtor related searches is legally correct.... but searchers for the most part don't know this, and arn't going to search for a "real estate consultant" or even "realtor" in most cases.

    Individual sales representatives also compete against eachother, which makes this a HUGE blow to individual agents.

    Just some food for thought, we've been suggesting to clients to invest in Facebook marketing to diversity their online marketing and we're seeing traffic to their website at $0.76-$1.24 a click. Likes can be a bit pricier, but then you have a permanent "subscription base" to advertise to, that you don't have to pay for again. If your real estate clients are rapidly losing traffic from this algo-update, I'd start building up their Facebook likes or using Facebook ads to drive traffic to their website before everyone else jumps on the band wagon and prices go up to Adwords CPC levels!
    Hurricane K8
    Avalanche Search Marketing Inc.

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    Linda Buquet (07-29-2014)

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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    Just thought I'd add my piece to the puzzle.

    If any of you have suburbian service area clients, you may have noticed similar changes.

    We've expanded from the usual one 7-pack (our hometown), to SIX local 7-packs in the surrounding towns. Searches were done incognito with location set to each specific town.

    We have always ranked highly in organic for these towns so it definitely helped big time.

    I'm noticing that we can rank higher in the pack than businesses that actually reside in that town. Not sure if Google will keep the area change "turned up" that high, but that's what I'm seeing now.
    Linda Buquet likes this.

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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    Quote Originally Posted by RossP View Post
    Just thought I'd add my piece to the puzzle.

    If any of you have suburbian service area clients, you may have noticed similar changes.

    We've expanded from the usual one 7-pack (our hometown), to SIX local 7-packs in the surrounding towns. Searches were down incognito with location set to each specific town.

    We have always ranked highly in organic for these towns so it definitely helped big time.

    I'm noticing that we can rank higher in the pack than businesses that actually reside in that town. Not sure if Google will keep the area change "turned up" that high, but that's what I'm seeing now.

    Yes, we are seeing the same thing. Kind of cool, hoping it sticks!
    Linda Buquet likes this.
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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    Quote Originally Posted by RossP View Post
    Just thought I'd add my piece to the puzzle.

    If any of you have suburbian service area clients, you may have noticed similar changes.

    We've expanded from the usual one 7-pack (our hometown), to SIX local 7-packs in the surrounding towns. Searches were done incognito with location set to each specific town.

    We have always ranked highly in organic for these towns so it definitely helped big time.

    I'm noticing that we can rank higher in the pack than businesses that actually reside in that town. Not sure if Google will keep the area change "turned up" that high, but that's what I'm seeing now.
    Quote Originally Posted by iFuse View Post
    Yes, we are seeing the same thing. Kind of cool, hoping it sticks!
    Good to hear and congrats you two!

    That particular change is probably good, IF the listings that are out of town that get in the pack, really are more deserving than the businesses right in that city. (Like your clients.)

    However I can already can hear complaints (in my head) that will likely come from businesses saying, "We've been in business for 15 years, play by the rules but have been pushed down and are getting outranked by businesses that aren't even in our town."

    Plus many of the cases where I've seen this happen are fake name EMDs that are somewhat spammy and don't deserve to rank in the city they are not located in.

    So it's a double edged sword. Sure hope "she" has a good picker when she's doing this and I'm glad it's helping your listings.
    RossP, iFuse and HurricaneK8 like this.
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    A training client just said in the Private Pro forum:

    "The more I read about the latest Pigeon update, the more I think that Linda is on track with her training. It would seem that Google is tying in more with the traditional web search ranking signals, which I believe is what a lot of Linda's training is all about. Right?"

    My Reply in part:

    "Well everything in my training is best practice and I always say:

    "In order to rank well IN SPITE OF WHATEVER ALGO GOOGLE THROWS OUR WAY you need a well optimized, violation-free G+ L page and a well optimized site."

    So in that respect training is still spot on.

    HOWEVER, no one has figured this new algo out.

    IMPORTANT - Even though SEland says Google told them it's more about organic signals the ranking order does NOT match pure organic like it used to.

    So there's other stuff thrown into the mix no one has figured out yet.

    But as far as I know everything I teach still is right on. The examples I use in the On-site Local SEO training, (which is the one most pertinent to this discussion) of Dentists I optimized over 3 years ago, still rank on top just like they always have.


    Have lots of newer observations I have not posted here. No time to go into detail, just throwing some stuff out there.

    1) Even though SEland says Google told them it's more about traditional organic signals, the ranking order does NOT match pure organic like it used to. So there is other stuff in the mix which I'm trying to analyze as I have time.

    2) LOTS more pure unclaimed G+ L listings with no site attached in certain packs. So those don't have organic SEO factors, but maybe citations or other 3rd party signals.

    EXAMPLE: "Chesapeake accountant" (with location set to Chesapeake Va)
    Top 2 listings no site, just unclaimed G+ L page. Then further down another with no site.

    Right now I'm analyzing small town low competition markets that typically don't optimize much, in order to try to see how Google is ranking pure unadulterated rankings that have likely not been manipulated.

    3) SERP pack order no longer matches maps ranking order. Used to match up pretty well unless there was a penalty.

    From what I've seen the maps ranking order still mirrors the PRE 7/24 algo. But the SERPs pack order has now of course changed.

    NEW INSIGHTS FROM ELSEWHERE:

    I previously mentioned the MOZ report about a 60% drop in packs was incorrect and I think I explained why. Here is a follow up post from Mike citing Whitespark data that shows a 23.4% drop in packs. Moz Updates Local Query Set Revised Data Show 23.4% Drop Post Pigeon Update | Understanding Google Places & Local Search

    Then in Enrico's G+ post Dr Pete from Moz explains more...

    "We've made a fix to the #MozCast data, and are now seeing a 23.4% decline in pack results. This matches almost exactly with the 24% that Mike Blumenthal and Darren Shaw reported this morning. As best we can tell, this result matches what we see by manually setting locations, but the situation is in flux."
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    Now its possible I'm spending way to much time thinking about this but I've come across an observation -

    for two accounts I follow/manage I've had a fall in some keywords (not huge, from 1 to 4) for the "City + Keyword" - and I'm getting replaced by a brick and mortar building in an entire different state. The only thing I can tell is that the population of the place now listed in the 1st position is a bigger city then the one I was tracking. (I did an site comparison to the one now first and we've got a higher PA/DA, we've got more reviews and a higher star number, active posting to no posting). I saw this on another set of local searches I track, where the population of the city being tracked seemed to impact.

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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    I just wanted to add my thanks...about 8 months ago I started really cleaning up GMB duplicates, Citations, Onsite and offsite SEO etc. for a number of clients that were tanked. Its been frustrating not seeing results, but with this last update all popped into #1-#3 and crossing my fingers they will stay there.

    Linda, because of your training, this forum and my unwavering passion to beat my head against my desk (lol) things have improved. We were one of the luckier industries (Orthodontists) that made out pretty well in this last update. Out of 50 + exclusives we had 3 drop. The areas we are seeing issues is in cities like Phoenix that are showing 3 packs for "Orthodontist Phoenix". I'm noticing in cities that are having this 3 pack issue it requires adding the State to the search to bring up a 7 pack. I'm sure things will settle over the coming weeks, but for now I see some victory! Score one for the White Hats! Thanks Linda and thanks to everyone that is active on this forum!
    Rawly and Amber Robinson like this.

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    Re: Major Google Local Algo Update - Google "Pigeon" Update Shakes it Up!

    Most of your clients that were tanked went to #1 - 3 with the Pigeon update Justin???

    That's awesome to hear!

    I didn't check orthos yet, but yes I bet that's one market that would end up getting some 3 packs and 3 packs are hard. Plus many of the 3 packs I'm seeing, 2 out of the 3 are the different listings for the same company which really makes it hard.

    But kudos! I know you work really hard for your clients so I'm glad to hear it's paying off!
    Dustybones likes this.
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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