pigeon-150x150In an effort to further optimize local search results, Google has begun rolling out a new tweak to its algorithm that some in the SEO community have tentatively labeled Pigeon. Dealer’s need to be aware of these changes because the Pigeon update is designed to improve local search listings for businesses (like car dealers).

According to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land, Google told them that “the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more”. In addition, Google said that this new algorithm “improves their distance and location ranking parameters.”

It is not clear exactly how all of these changes will impact each dealer, so you should probably Google some of your top traffic-driving organic search keywords, and check the customer experience for anyone searching with local terms like “Toyota dealers near me” or “Ford dealers in Baltimore, MD”.

You should also check your Google Analytics account and compare this last week’s Organic Search Traffic vs. your prior Organic Search traffic levels, so you can determine the impact on your traffic and leads. If you would like any help doing this for your dealership’s Google Analytics account, whether or not you’re a DealerOn customer, just submit your contact information on our site or email me back, and include a comment “Google Analytics Help”.

Many Google users have reported seeing more listings from local directories when making searches – for example, searching for a restaurant name is now more likely to give you results from Yelp, Urbanspoon, OpenTable, and TripAdvisor. This increased focus on aggregate sites may make local search that much more difficult for your dealership website if it carries over into the automotive vertical.google-analytics-logo

These changes mean it is even more important than ever to ensure your dealership’s business information is the same (and accurate) across the Internet. Google looks for the NAP (name, address, phone number) of local businesses across the Internet, and is more likely to serve up your listing if it is consistent across all sites. Are you using a consistent business name (CDJR vs. Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram)? Is your dealership using the same address across all local platforms? Your dealership website should be the main source for this type of information, so whatever you are using on your site (name, address, phone number) should be reflected throughout the Internet.

If your dealership is confused about where your business information is listed, consider using a tool like Yext. Yext scans local directories to identify and claim existing listings and reports your standings across hundreds of platforms. From there, you can manage your listings, correcting any errors you may find and help ensure that your dealership’s information is accurate where it matters most.

Need or want some assistance making sure your local directory listings are in order? Please contact me or DealerOn and we can help you through the process. It’s something our team routinely does as a part of our Client Results program, and would be more than happy to help your dealership stay on top of Google’s algorithm adjustments like the Pigeon update.