Google launches new local search algorithm
Google’s recent focus on improving local search has not only given consumers more relevant results, it has also given small businesses more exposure to consumers in their neighbouring areas.
Now local businesses have a fighting chance to compete with the big guns, especially those conducting content marketing, as Google has rolled out a new search algorithm that prioritises local businesses over brands with a national or international presence in search results.
Although Google is yet to give the new algorithm a name, Search Engine Land has dubbed it “Pigeon” – a reference to how pigeons always fly back home.
Google said local search accuracy is one of the hundreds of signals in its new algorithm that will determine a website’s ranking, and that it will pay more attention to the location and distance tracking in rankings, according to the news outlet. The algorithm is also closely tied to other features, such as Google’s Knowledge Graph.
At this stage it is difficult to determine the extent that this update will have on search results, but it is apparent across both Google Search and Google Maps.
Other algorithmic updates such as Google Panda and Google Penguin, which were focused on improving the quality of content, have had huge impacts on search results.
For instance, the Google Panda 4.0 update that was rolled out earlier this year in May effected 7.5 per cent of all English search queries.
The new algorithm is only running in US English, and Google hasn’t revealed any plans to launch it in other countries and languages as of yet.
Small businesses wanting to make the most of these new changes need to prove to Google and online consumers that they are legitimate businesses with a good product or service, and one of the best ways to achieve this is by setting up a content strategy.
Posted by Dylan Brown