Authority: The Link to Local SEO Success
When Google released its Pigeon update in late 2014, few knew just how significantly the results pages would change and ultimately how sophisticated the search engine itself would become in relation to identifying queries with local intent – but that is exactly what has happened.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has always been a very “dynamic” practice, where changes in how the engines index and return websites and their content determine how a digital presence is optimized. This is quite evident in recent changes to the Google Local pack.
Google essentially rolled out an update in early August in how it displays local businesses within its results pages. Instead of the 7-pack of listings that most consumers and Web professionals grew accustom to since the Pigeon update, Google now only displays three local listings. And there are even more changes that SEOs would be wise to understand if local website optimization is their responsibility.
In addition to the number of listings returned, Google has also replaced the exact address with the street name only, removed phone numbers and Google+ links, and added opening and closing times. When users click on the title of a listing today, they are presented with (and redirected to) more details on that business (within a popup that is overlaid on a map along with up to 20 other listings). Only when a user clicks specifically on the website icon in the listing pack will their click end up on a website.