How To Create A Website
UPDATED: AUGUST 19, 2016 – ARTICLE: HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SEO AFTER GOOGLE PIGEON
Category: Website Design & Development
On 25 July 2014 Google released a significant new local SEO update which has been nicknamed ‘Google Pigeon’ by Search Engine Land. As with all of Google’s algorithm updates, there will be winners and losers, however this particular update is designed to reward websites with good local SEO, rather than penalize websites for bad SEO, which Panda and Penguin did.
Pigeon was released initially just in the USA, however is expected to fly to Europe and the rest of the world soon.
Google Pigeon has made four significant changes to the way that Google rank websites and each of these has implications for the best way to optimize your site.
If you’re targeting local SEO (e.g. you’re a bricks and mortar business and are looking for clients just from your city) and noticed a drop in traffic to your site on the 25 July 2014, this suggests that your local SEO may be lacking in light of Google’s new algorithm.
If you didn’t notice much change, or saw an improvement, this article can help by suggesting some additional measures you can take to further benefit from Google’s latest algorithm update.
What’s Changed And How Does It Affect My Website SEO?
In the following section we look at each of the four changes and explore how you can benefit from them when we make a website.
1. Google are providing “more accurate and relevant search results in Google Maps” by linking this more closely to organic search results.
Most users will find that when they search for e.g. “hotel” or “restaurant” in Google part of the results will be a list of Google Places connected to a map. These are shown partly based on proximity to the current location, or the city center if you also enter the name of a town, however Google also take into account organic SEO and with this latest update, your organic SEO is more important than ever to claim the first listing on the map.
Have Good Content And Others Will Share It
To benefit from this, ensure that you have good on-page content on your site that reads well and is interesting and build high quality links to your site from relevant and reputable websites. Nothing new there!
2. Google have improved their “spelling correction and synonym features”.
A long time ago we had a web page called “spot the difference” which received a huge amount of traffic because it was well optimized and we’d accidentally misspelled “difference”, which it turned out thousands of people searching for this phrase also did and voila – they found our site.
The Pigeon update is part of a general trend for Google to correct typos that people enter before showing results and to also consider related words and synonyms; so how does this affect your SEO?
These days if someone searches for “spot the difference”, Google assumes you meant “difference” and presents the same results. This means that there’s no need to use common typos of words or bad grammar just to get those keywords on your page.
If you’re writing in a foreign language like French, it’s also advisable to use correct accents on your site. Google now rewards sites with good spelling and grammar and as their algorithms become more sophisticated this means that webmasters can focus on writing good content and worry less about getting every possible keyword combination into the text.
Use Keyword Phrases In Your Meta Tags
It’s still important to use keywords in your Meta-tag Title, Description and H1 header, and a few times on the page, but your overall focus should be on how your content reads.
3. Google have improved their “distance and location ranking parameters”.
This suggests that people using Google will see more specific results that are local to them, so if you enter a generic search phrase without a location, more of the results will be from local websites and Google will use more factors than just the IP address to determine where someone is.
To take advantage of this, if you’re targeting local clients, ensure that it’s obvious where your business is based and treat your city as a keyword. To do this you can:
- Include the name of the city where you’re based in the Meta-tag Title, H1 header and text on your home page.
- Include your address in the footer or at the bottom of a side-bar on every page of your site.
- Ensure that your who-is information is up-to-date and matches the details on your site.
- Find local news sites, directories or blogs and see if you can get them to link to you. Be creative, as different approaches will work best with different sites. Some sites will have a submission form, with other sites, you might be best offering them an interesting story in exchange or including a link to you.
Local directories like Yelp have seen a significant improvement in their SEO position since Pigeon.
Look For High Quality Sites
Before Google Pigeon, Directories had had some bad press in the SEO world and having an excessive number of links from poor quality directories can get your site penalised, rather than rewarded.
The Pigeon update seems to have taken steps towards restoring the balance and it’s a good idea to submit your site to some of the better directories.
Avoid directories that have a low trust value. The best way to find good directories to submit to is to simply enter your keywords, look through the first 10-20 pages of results and whenever you see a directory among them, submit your site to it!
Given number 3 above and the improvement in distance and location ranking parameters, it’s important that the name, address and phone number you use when completing the directory submissions are the same as the ones on your own site. This might mean more spam, but it will also mean more real inquiries.
Google Pigeon rewards websites that have good local SEO, good spelling and grammar and clear indicators of where they’re based, both on the site itself and on other sites linking to them. The better directories are also appearing higher since Pigeon. Taking this into account means that there are some simple improvements you can make to improve your local SEO.
About the Author
This article was written by Martin Woods, the co-founder and Marketing Director of Indigoextra Ltd. To read more about Indigoextra’s SEO, marketing and web design services visit www.Indigoextra.com.
Martin is passionate about SEO and enjoys solving the ever unraveling puzzle which is Google’s algorithm. He previously wrote cryptic crosswords for The Big Issue, a homeless charity in the UK and now lives in Montpellier, France with his wife and two boys.