Late last week it was confirmed that Google’s new local ranking algorithm, originally released in the US on July 24th 2014, has now spread its wings and arrived in the UK, Australia and Canada.
The new “pigeon” update aims to deliver relevant, useful and accurate local search results that are tied more closely with traditional web search. This new update improves distance and location ranking signals, giving increased traffic based on relevancy.
What’s the impact for retailers?
If you have physical stores then this could directly affect your local listings:
- If your local listings are not set up properly you could find you’re losing not only online traffic but also physical traffic to your stores
- This release during peak could potentially impede projected profits if you find your listings are affected
- Overly optimised listing pages containing multiple postcodes and/or areas served could find themselves faring badly and may need further testing
What is Summit’s opinion on the pigeon release?
Local listings have been increasing over the past few years as part of an overall strategy in tying together online and physical stores.
With the release of Google’s pigeon update in the UK and wider countries we will see a shift that puts the spotlight on this area and ensures retailers’ listings conform to best practice (and are not over optimised).
Retailers that have already implemented this correctly will be the early birds that catch the worm and will see the benefits of increased quality traffic. Remember that pigeon is not here to increase your rankings, it’s here to increase the quality of local results and thus give an increase in quality traffic to your site/store.
Consider that if your traffic decreases it might not be a bad sign, as long as your conversion rate increases due to the quality of the traffic driven.
What should retailers’ next steps be?
- Review your local listing implementation and collect your legacy ranking data together to form a benchmark for your local listing pages
- Learn from the US; they have had this release already since July 2014. Leverage their findings of what impacted/benefitted them vs. your site’s implementation
- Optimise local pages. The page title tag should include your brand name, targeted primary keyword and the location
- Create Google+ Local pages for each store location and include the actual store image for each local landing page
- Ensure that citations, NAP (name, address, postcode) listings and on-page address references are consistent
- Ensure your store details appear within well-known third party directories with strong domains and are kept up to date
Local listings can be easily forgotten in a client’s strategy, but this is an important conversion factor in the user journey because of the increased quality traffic it can provide. This is something we continue to support in our ongoing client strategies.
Let us know if you spot the new breed of pigeon affecting your listings. We’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to know more please contact Dave Trolle on (01482) 876876.