Google’s Local SEO Search Algorithm

Written by: Jason Bayless | February 05, 2015

Learning the way that Google creates its local SEO search algorithms can give a business in any industry a leg up over their competition. As the dominant factor in web traffic by a factor of 8 to 9, Google has a stranglehold on your business that can become a bottleneck if you do not understand the ways in which the engine decides how to promote or bury its listings.

There are two major changes that have been made to the local search engine algorithm that deserve your attention. Below is an overview of both of those algorithm changes.

– Google Pigeon

The Google Pigeon update serves as a sort of hub for all of the random updates that Google has implemented over the years in terms of local search engine optimization. Google has literally hundreds of web ranking symbols that it uses in order to determine whether to promote or bury a listing in its local search engine algorithms. However, these ranking symbols have not been organized until now.

For instance, before the Pigeon update, the search engine was not necessarily prone to listing businesses that would have otherwise been included in the “seven pack” listings that formally dominated maps as well as organic listings at times. This can mean any number of things for a business; however, you should make sure that you are on the right side of this change so that you can be listed in the city or metro area that you are actually doing business in.

Currently, Google is creating a need for more major directory exposure through its Pigeon update as well. In its mad search to find a viable way to narrow down local search engine listings, Google has aligned itself with a method of promotion that was once completely maligned by the major search engines. This means that any company that is looking for organic search engine listings around its area should endeavor to be listed with niche directories in its area as well.

Google is also well prepared to view your customer reviews on websites like Yelp as well. This means that the actual behavior of actual customers who are using your product in real time will affect your search engine rankings. There are many positive things that come from this real-time usage such as turning a blind eye to black hat search engine optimization specialists. However, this also ratchets up the manipulation of the social engines.

– Google Pirate

With all the backlash from the big-money guys in the record and movie industries, Google has also incorporated an anti-piracy mechanism into its search results as well. This rollout, which occurred around the middle of 2014, has affected many innocent sites who may service ads from websites that are known for piracy or from websites that have been misinterpreted as sites that create avenues for piracy.

In order to combat this new bottleneck, websites should endeavor for as much original content as possible. Syndication and other methods of aggregating content that is not original to the website should be monitored closely for any affiliation to black hat websites or websites that have anything to do with piracy of any sort.

Alongside Google Penguin, Google Pirate and Google Pigeon have created an entirely new set of rules for the business that is looking to reach out to its local constituency. Make sure that you are on top of all of the current changes and the changes that Google is looking to implement in the near future. This is the only way that you will be able to live and thrive in the coming decades, as there is absolutely no trend indicator that shows Google losing any influence over worldwide web traffic.