Google’s Local SEO Algorithm

Written by: Jason Bayless | April 21, 2015

While the internet has certainly expanded the availability of information, products, and services, it has also been detrimental to small and local businesses. The internet has been – for the most part – the domain of large businesses with dedicated marketing departments. As the internet continued to gain proverbial ground in the business world, what are called search engine optimization (SEO) techniques became more and more vital to a successful online presence.

Search engine optimization is, in short, a set of techniques that marketers use in the coding, as well as development of websites, and their subsequent content, in a way that is attractive to search engine algorithms. Search engines, in order to parse through the vast amount of information online, use a variety of complex, sophisticated algorithms to help sort through the junk and provide the most relevant results to the users. Those businesses that knew how to best “talk” to Google through the design of their page, had a higher page rank, and thus appeared higher in search engine results.

How is This a Disadvantage to Local Business

Many local businesses are too small to necessitate a dedicated marketing department. They rely on word of mouth and local and regional marketing campaigns to try to strengthen their customer base. It is true that many of them have websites, and do employ basic SEO techniques, but this can never compete with businesses who have dedicated SEO professionals who are always ahead of the curve in the techniques they have in their proverbial arsenal.

What this means is the many small businesses do not have the resources to hire the folks that know how to best make a web page attractive to Google and other search engines. This leads to local websites falling very far down the search rankings and as a result, being overlooked in results and not being shown to users (or being shown so many pages in that the user never makes it that far).

How Google Pigeon Changes Things

Google has, since it’s creation of a page rank algorithm, sought to find ways to improve the utility and value of the results provided to the user. As it has been shown that businesses with the means to employ SEO specialists have an unfair advantage and are overrepresented in search engine results, Google has sought to make changes that decrease the advantages of businesses with deeper pockets.

Changes to the algorithm in the Google Pigeon update seek to eliminate these disparities even further. Since local business has been one of the biggest losers in the internet age, this update has been especially welcomed by them. The main purpose of the Pigeon update is to enhance the visibility of relevant local search results. This means that businesses closest to where the user lives will be featured higher and be given greater preference in Google Maps and traditional search engine results.

While this may be a small disadvantage to large corporations, it provides more useful results and levels the proverbial playing field for local businesses. These changes have the potential to really enhance the visibility of local businesses, which is a boon the local economy and makes finding what people need in their local areas much easier.

For those who are looking for products and services in their local area, as well as those trying to market their products and services, the recent changes to Google’s algorithm, dubbed Google Pigeon, have been a well-received change. These changes in the algorithm are designed to give a higher preference to local business in both search engine results and map searches. This makes it much easier for small, local businesses to get connected with those in the local area that are interested in their products and services. These changes have, for the most part, have been accepted as a positive change that makes the search results provided by Google a lot more valuable to the users.