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Pigeon by Daniel Ruyter
Pigeon by Daniel Ruyter

Make the Google Pigeon update work for you!

Launched earlier this year, the Google Pigeon update has sent shivers down the backs of many SEO and marketing specialists. Why? Well, put it this way. No one really knows much about how the Pigeon affects online businesses, but one thing’s for sure, it does. So before the pigeon takes an unpleasant dump and affects your traffic flow, make sure your online marketing efforts have considered the update.

Google Pigeon update in a nutshell

The point of the Pigeon aims to make local search results more relevant by mimicking traditional organic rankings as close as possible. Obviously this can only be a good thing for users but is it good for local businesses? The answer, well yes and no. While map listings in Google’s 7 pack results have become more refined. The update also has made it harder for local businesses to maintain a high search ranking on Google resulting in pigeon poop all over their traffic flow.

But it’s not all bad news

Some have actually fared better because of the update, notably major business directories that have started to gain greater visibility on the first page of a local search in place of other sites.

“It looks like Yelp and other local directory-style sites are benefiting with higher visibility after the Pigeon update, at least in some verticals. And that seems logical since, as Google said, this update ties local results more closely to standard web ranking signals. That should benefit big directory sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor — sites that have stronger SEO signals than small, individual restaurants and hotels are likely to have.” ­– Search Engine Land

So What can you as an online business to improve your local search ratings?

Easy my friend, get your business registered on a major directory! You know by now that the Google Gods like them so then being registered can only add value to your brand and increase your chance of visibility on local searches. That’s why we’ve done our own research on the best directories for you to choose from. And take it from us, if you’ve noticed a decrease in traffic from August till now, the Pigeon has something to do with it.

Which directory should I choose?

Touchlocal.com

Small businesses can join this network quite easily in just a few steps. The proof’s in the pudding given that some 4000-6000 new businesses join this directory every month making it the UK’s largest online business directory. With plans to expand globally, Touch Local has fast become known as providing the best user search experience when it comes to successfully connecting users with businesses. What’s more, Touch Local offers business owners a number of tools and services to help their businesses’ marketing strategy. Now as you can see, whilst there were a downfall in traffic ranking for Touch Local between December 2013 – February 2014, the update shows just how this all changes after the June update.

Scoot.co.uk

With businesses including Touch Local, The Sun, The Independent and The Mirror in it’s remit, Scoot provides businesses the platform to promote their online brand on several important search networks. Offering users regularly updated quality information including those much loved reviews, and businesses the privilege to incorporate payment gateways, maps, image, videos, links to websites and much more. Scoot gives users and businesses the opportunity to take advantage of the great search and find. Below highlights just how the pigeon has boosted Scoot’s authority on local search. Until the update, organic traffic generated through specific keywords was as less than 10,000, however, this quickly shot up as you can see from June to September.

Freeindex.co.uk

So this directory allows users to search businesses in terms of rating and performance in the market and the best thing is you can register for FREE. Interesting facts for you now, the index includes 1 million users and 415,000 companies and has achieved success by having 1.5 million regular consumers achieving conversion through the directory. One of the key elements of Free Index is that it runs a Multi quote service allowing users to receive 5 potential quotes from business owners within an hour. To put it into context, this feature alone produces approximately £2,000,000 in new business a month for Free Index consumers. How did the update impact Free Index? Well it saw a fluctuation in organic traffic from September 2013 to May 2014 but from June onwards traffic increased exponentially.

YELL.com

With 14.4 million unique users as of May 2014, it’s pretty clear that nothing’s changed our love for the yellow pages. And with 54% of users contacting Yell’s registered businesses, the stats really do say it all. Listing your business on Yell can in fact improve your site’s visibility on Google by 8 fold in comparison to a free listing. As a business, Yell provides the opportunity for you to access a number of services to that help promote your brand. For instance, you can choose to be featured offline in the ‘yellow pages’ which can only help your marketing efforts on both channels. Now, Yell like the rest have also experienced a drastic improvement in their traffic flow on organic keywords after the update.

Foursquare.co.uk

This one is much more recent but definitely one for the fast paced professional. The system allows users to perform a more personalised search on Four Square’s mobile app. In a nutshell, Foursquare is more than just a directory as it allows users to share their location with their friends on Facebook. A tick when it comes to multichannel marketing. As an added bonus, the system also offers information in several languages and allows users to find recommendations of the best places to visit. Like the rest, Foursquare also received a boost in traffic after the update.

You’ve got the low down, so now what?

Well we know that the update has positively affected directory listings, increasing traffic and subsequent sales. That’s why we advise business owners to look into listing their businesses with local search directories that are guaranteed to boost their online brand.

  • Test the most relevant keywords on your website to evaluate the performance of different directories and their ranking on the SERPs.
  • Once you’ve decided on the directory, provide a detailed portfolio of your business
  • Get on Google +! This helps your business get indexed on the Google local search engine. Make sure that your business is listed in the right category with the right area code, information and keywords.

This is just to get you started on your online marketing but as always, there’s plenty more of that where it came from!