shutterstock_185782202-Converted-01Google’s most recent algorithm change, codenamed “Pigeon,” has seen its greatest impacts in how local search engine results are handled. This has unquestionably altered local search engine optimization tactics and approaches, perhaps no more so than in the area of reputation management.

Previous to Pigeon, a local search for a business may not have had reviews placed so highly on the SERP, but now that the update has been rolled out, those sites are far more visible. Sites now have to deal with local traffic and sources of content, and national traffic as well. Here is how it breaks down:

  • Review sites matter more than they ever have. One of the effects of the Pigeon update has been to put formerly national sites at the forefront of local SERP feedback, which include hotel and travel sites. In the case of a small business, that means that sites like Yelp are also higher on the SERP than they previously were when searching for a specific business. If you perform a search for a local business right now, you will see that the first result will likely be a listing for that business, and that the following links will be for online review and consensus sites.
  • This can be a headache without proper reputation management. Even Google has been made aware that Yelp sites can unfairly bias incoming search traffic for or against certain businesses, and the change to Pigeon means that that potentially poisoned well will have a higher place of prominence.
  • It’s also an opportunity to improve the local feedback on your site, boost your social media profile, and become more involved with Google’s business tool set. If you haven’t already thought of all of the reasons these should be in your list of priorities, then reputation management should certainly motivate you to reconsider how you’re approaching local SEO for a company.

What Can You Do?:

  • Get connected. Whether it’s with your business through Google’s MyBusiness tools, or with your social media profile and the people that actually drive your business, now is the time to dive into the fray and get things moving. If you’re a SEO firm handling a company’s online social media presence and rep, this means that you now, more than ever, have to consider your social media to be tied at the waist to your local SEO.
  • Keep information update. From the menu that a restaurant has to offer, to contact details, to store hours, you need to stay on top of this information. It should be accurate up to the minute for the best results.

In general, pay closer attention to local reputations. In light of Pigeon, you really can’t afford to take local SEO and reputation management lightly. These aspects can easily make or break a business, much less a SEO campaign.