On July 24th 2014, Google quietly released an algorithm update which has had significant implications to the local search space.
Google has not given their update an official name however, Search Engine Land’s well known and respected author Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) has bestowed the name Pigeon to the latest update.
Upon initial evaluation of the release, there is speculation that the change has been favourable towards local directories like Yelp, UrbanSpoon, TripAdvisor and OpenTable to name a few in the US thus far.
Search Engine Land touts that it has noticed additional visibility, particularly in certain verticals, for such reputable local directory sites in the US.
Google mentioned that their new local search algorithm ties more closely with their web search, distance and location handling and ranking signals.
Many local directories that are legitimate and have strong SEO signals than small, individual business websites are benefitting with higher visibility from the update so far in the US.
We are yet to see the impact to sites on our shores, however, we are hoping that the results are the same if not similar to what is emerging in the US.
Our family of legitimate directory sites including Yellow Pages, White Pages, Yelp and TrueLocal have all been built with strong SEO in mind and possess a great deal of localised content which will mean that there is a high probability that such sites will outrank small, individual business websites organically.
Kavit Shah is Senior Manager, SEO at Sensis