Category Archives: SEO News

Google  Pigeon Update Local SEO Last week the online search world experienced an earthquake. The earth didn’t actually move, but our search results experienced a significant “shake” when Google released what has been dubbed the “Pigeon” update.  For local businesses, this update has been extremely positive, displaying business listings in a huge percentage of its queries. We have discovered that small businesses, locally searched, may actually see a big gain as a result of the Pigeon update. Let me explain some of our findings. Initially, many who reviewed results after the update concluded that local Map Packs were significantly reduced in Google search results. The initial data that MOZ released suggested a grim picture with a huge reduction in Map Packs. However, upon further inspection, the queries performed lacked user location.  For years Google has detected user’s physical location and used that information to deliver unique search results. Now it appears that setting location is necessary to return the most relevant local results.

Granularity Based Upon Users Location

In local search, we’ve tended to append our queries with a location, such as the city or zip code.  However maps packs are tending to appear for basic queries where location is not explicitly stated (e.g. “patio furniture”).   Google is reducing the need for users to specify location in their query because they can accurately detects the users location.

Search tools settings for implicit location.

Implicit Location: Search tools settings for implicit location (video instruction).

The challenge is that this stuff is not easy to identify. Our data is limited to search ranking results for Local Splash clients, so there is a bias, but in general, we’ve noticed a significant decrease in Map Pack results for nationwide queries.  This is similar to what Darren Shaw found. To illustrate, query “dui attorney los angeles” shows only web pages.  But, if the query is simply “dui attorney” with the users location identified as Los Angeles, a maps pack is shown. Our data showed a huge increase in 3-pack returns.  Prior to the update, our percentage of clients with rankings in the top 3 (A, B, C) was 37.9%. After the update, the percentage was 76.2%.  A huge increase and clearly a substantial gain for local businesses.  These results are for queries where the users location is set to the same city as the business (aka implicitly localized).

G+ Content More Relevant for Local SEO

Some findings suggest that places with optimized G+ pages, using rich text and including hyperlinked content may also improve rankings (albeit via spam). Google may be adjusting how G+ pages’ content is valued; guidance recently received indicates content that previously viewed as keyword stuffing may now be seen as enhancing the content of the G+ page (in introduction/description field) and assist in ranking improvement.  In any event, it may be a good time to replace that old 200 character Google Places description with something intended for the G+ audience. When dealing with online search work, there is often much we do not and cannot know, as Google rarely comes out and explains exactly what is changing and how it may affect search rankings. However, the findings gleaned since last Friday (July 25th) have provided some insight to what we can and should do to benefit from the Pigeon changes.

SMX Advanced 2013

The Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Advanced agenda is out for the two-day conference, taking place June 11-12, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. With a lineup of diverse digital marketing topics to be discussed, the conference seems like a worthwhile summer event to add to one’s calendar.

The SMX Advanced agenda covers a wide range of organic and paid search marketing topics, incorporating social, mobile, and content marketing strategies into the mix. All the topic choices are in-line with current industry trends. Also, the agenda topics cater to those who are a bit more experienced in the search marketing field.

The conference is put on by Third Door Media, Inc., the parent company of Search Engine Land, a search marketing news site. SMX Advanced conferences began in June 2007, and have grown into one of the world’s leading search engine marketing conferences.

Some may want to start reading up on the agenda topics prior to the conference so they have a better grasp on what will be discussed. Below are some recommended articles:

Google’s Enhanced Campaigns
Authorship
Facebook Open Graph
Google Remarketing Lists
Product Listing Ads

Listing at ConferenceAlthough there is minimal information provided on the lineup, notable participants include Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, as keynote speaker. Also, with a long list of “big name” sponsors like SEOMoz, one may assume that the speaker lineup will be a pretty good one (even before it is posted).

There are some perks to signing up early. Before Friday, March 29, one can sign up for the Super Early Bird pass option and save between $20-$200. There is still an Early Bird pass option after that date but, as the conference nears, prices go up.

SMX Advanced conference passes sell out quickly. One can read several reviews and recaps circulating in regard to past conferences, like SMX West, which are helping to build the buzz and anticipation for SMX Advanced.

According to Search Engine Land, Google now allows users to block pay-per-click (PPC) ads from certain companies from showing up in their search results. This “block sites” feature was added in November and works whether you are signed in or signed out of your Google account.

The block sites feature used to allow users to block sites from both the web search results and the PPC results. However with the release of Search Plus Your World, the ability to block sites went away and hasn’t come back. Users can still block PPC ads from certain sites from showing up in their search results, which can definitely impair their paid marketing efforts. This is just another reason why focusing on the local search results is important. Users cannot block your business information from showing up there, which means you still have the chance to put your business in front of your ideal target audience, potential customers searching for your business in your area.

Local Splash can get your business on the first page of Google, check out our services here.