On July 24, 2014, Google pushed out a significant local search algorithm change that some experts have dubbed the Pigeon update. The overarching point so far seems to be that local directory sites are getting better visibility in Google’s search results. The Pigeon update impacts both listings within Google Map Search and those that appear in Google organic search results.
The local directory boost seems to have benefitted Google’s own listings, as well as Yelp, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, and a variety of more obscure local digital listings.
Google indicated that this update ties local results more closely to standard web ranking signals. While this is already providing visible benefits to the larger directory sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, small, individual businesses and websites will have to adopt or update their local search strategies.
Google Pigeon Update and Search Engine Optimization
While the new update will likely be tweaked and adjusted over the next few weeks, some of the larger impacts are already visible. While more time will be needed to analyze the search engine impact and to fully evaluate the changes, many SEO specialists and marketing teams posit theories and observations to steer the course of best SEO practices.
One area that has seen a significant impact is the Google 7-pack, the quick list near the top of search results containing simple address and phone number listings for businesses. The Pigeon update has affected which businesses rank in this highly lucrative area, with some disappearing from previously enjoyed spots. Appearing in this list can measurably increase traffic to a business. While not all keywords have seen an impact on their 7-pack ranking, many have, making it important for your law firm to check key search terms to determine which ones have been affected.
Fortunately, Google has not made any mysterious updates to how a page ranks highly in results. Practices such as link building, social outreach and other SEO tasks are still the way to ensure that your law firm’s website and other digital assets rank as highly as possible. Researching any specific impact on your local results may help you tailor your marketing to boost your firm back into the 7-pack and first page listings.
What Does the Google Pigeon Update Mean for Law Firms?
As with any Google algorithm update, law firms should always be aware, understand the potential implications, check on their digital properties, and communicate with their vendors regarding a plan of action, if needed. If you have questions about Google, search results, local directories, or any type of legal marketing, we are here to help, so contact us today.