Google’s Pigeon update affects those whose queries are local in nature. Problem is, Google is seeing more and more queries as being local in nature.
For example, “pizza” is probably the most demonstrated local search query. Google knows you want pizza and knows you want it now, so it doesn’t bother showing you results from Digiorno.com. But now, more and more queries are behaving similar to local queries. Google sporting goods to see what I mean. Do you want sporting goods now? Maybe. But maybe is big change from no.
To me, Pigeon seems like an effort to share mobile and desktop experiences. It makes sense, from Google’s perspective, to standardize these experiences as people using their service use the device that’s most convenient for them and not for the device that’s most appropriate for their location. Just because I’m at home and my desktop is on doesn’t mean I’m going to search using my desktop. And just because I’m connected to my home Wi-Fi network on my iPhone doesn’t mean I want national results because my IP isn’t issued by a mobile provider.
With Pigeon comes a reduction in Google’s use of the local 3 or 7 pack and an increase in use of the image carousel. That means the quality of the images you upload to Google Plus / Google My Business can influence conversion rate. Also, carousel images are shown side-by-side instead of top-to-bottom which diminishes the perceived ranking of one result above another.
Because carousel results are shown side-by-side, your star rating could be just as important as whether or not you rank at all. Best ways to increase your star ranking
Local directories such as Yelp can do wonders for your company’s ability to rank locally. Be sure to standardize the appearance of your company’s name, address and phone number (NAP) across relevant directories. Use moz.com/local to audit yourself.
This is literally my favorite piece of SEO advice ever. Focus on making your business great before ever thinking about how to get business from Google. The technical stuff can be easily fixed but a poor business model, poor service and/or a poor product cannot.
As a writer, blogger or copywriter, you may be relying heavily on the belief that well-written content is enough and therefore, cannot be significantly improved once published.
Rather than constantly churning out page after page of content, I suggest you look at your top pages and look for ways to improve them. If your bounce rates on top pages are high, chances are you’re not learning enough from your logs and will just create more pages with high bounce rates.
My suggestion is that you think multi-dimensionally. It’s not just the words on the page, it’s the total user experience. Here are just a few of the many dimensions you can address:
Length – the widely held belief now is that longer is better, but I suggest that you be respectful of people’s time get to the point
Usefulness – trim the filler and expand upon what’s actually useful
Tone / Voice – try being positive, negative, sarcastic, optimistic, elitist or a commoner
Ease of use – make readers work less
Ease of use is really the big one. Writers, bloggers and copywriters have only recently started taking ownership of UX.
All these things can increase time spent on page and lower bounce rate.
What have you learned from your bounce rates?
My co-worker Kelly recently attended an iStock branding webinar and shared her notes with the team.
There were elements of the webinar that intrigued me enough to seek out the video below and to share a few of her bullet points.
Kelly’s bullet points appear quoted below. My responses appear after each.
“Do NOT start by creating a website; perfect your strategy and THEN create the website”
I see this happen all the time. Entrepreneurs think building a website is the first step towards building a business. Then once the website is built, suddenly they are a business. Not true!
“So, whatever you tell your clients to do, your site must do exceptionally well and it must demonstrate the effects of doing it well.”
This made me think of a client that has five different options for fitment and how they NEED to have videos demonstrating each option before they expect the general public to request one at all.
“Don’t try to make your business more sensational than it is. Instead, be truthful.“
I like this because it’s defensible. We shouldn’t pose as experts. We should ask to partner with experts so we can learn and serve.
“Juggling multiple brands is seldom effective“
Here’s an extension of the above. People do business with people and not brands, companies, industries or websites. The most important brand is your personal brand – who you are, what you can do and why you’re the only person that can do it. The company name, tag line or web address is inconsequential by comparison.
So the question remains … to brand or rebrand? When hard times befall your company or when industry changes make you feel outmoded, chances are your brand isn’t responsible. The webinar mentions a couple valid reasons for rebranding (such as a merger or outgrowing of your business) so make sure you’re just not out of ideas before you take this pivotal step.