Google Pigeon Collateral Damage
The last weeks of July we saw huge declines in impressions and results. The 7/24/14 Google Local update was code named "Pigeon" by Search Engine Land. It could not have been more appropriately named. The collateral damage that has followed has hurt many local businesses and has been referred to as pigeon droppings and every other nasty synonym you can think of.
The local search industry is pretty much in agreement that this is a bad update, delivering way too many bogus, dead or spammy listings and the map listings in many cases was reduced or disappeared from the home page. Google, in an effort to pinpoint fake listings, fake names, fake locations, or dead listings still appearing on the search results page hurt thousands of legitimate businesses. Now there are thousands of complaints into Google as clients saw their results disappear in one fell swoop!
However the update is still in major flux and changes daily, so we are hoping it will sort itself out and things will get better before they get any worse.
Prior to this update it was common to see our clients listings show up for search terms in the top 3-7 results (we'll call this the 7 pack). Mozcast was reporting a massive 60% decline in search terms that returned local packs. Now Google has removed the map listings or reduced the 7 pack to 2 or 3 pack on the home page of google.
Non Profits and businesses were hit very hard in most small to large cities...the rural and small towns were not hit as hard. The drop in results is huge and evident by the last reports we sent to our clients.
Businesses reporting major drops:
Real Estate Companies, Wellness Program, Massage Therapist, Chiropractor, Sports Medicine Clinic, Sports Massage Therapist, Pain Control Clinic, Physical Therapy Clinic, Holistic Medicine Practitioner, Wellness Center, Chiropractor, Wellness Program, Wellness Center, Massage Therapist, Chiropractor, Pain Management Physician, Nutritionist, Wellness Program, Pain Management Clinic, Nutritional Counseling, Chiropractors Dc, Cosmetic Dentists,Law Firms, DUI Attorneys, Personal Injury Attorneys, Plumbers, Air Conditioning Contractors and more...
1) Google is in control, we are testing theories to "make-up" for the loss in Google Places ranking, but every day we are seeing changes.
Google does everything for users! So there is something with this algorithm that they believe would offer a better search result. (Which is why I'm calling this collateral damage. I don't think the innocent businesses that are getting hurt are the target.)
2) Google really cares much about what SEOs think, so our complaints may fall on deaf ears.
They do however care very much about what users think!
So where you see dead listings or bogus listings, use the "SEND FEEDBACK" link at the bottom of the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). It will let you explain and select part of the screen.
Do it from the office. Then do it again from home. Get friends to report bad results too! Someone does read these reports, in order to get an aggregate view of how accurate results are.
3) If you see bogus listings with parked pages and disconnected numbers, try reporting them and try to get them taken down.
Even if Google won't deal with the problem instantly, maybe if they see a big uptick in spam reports, they'll realize that this algorithm is surfacing too many bad listings.
4) Results are random and make no sense and again it's changing almost daily.
So turn off your ranking reports and stop looking at SERPs til this thing blows over.
5) Google is hoping you turn to Adwords (as your option to get the lost results back) this is where they make their big money!
Hang in there, hopefully this blows over and we see the map listings back on page one soon!
Google Pigeon Collateral Damage