My initial review of Google’s Pigeon results, Picking Through Google’s Pigeon Droppings…, was posted on SEL yesterday, but it was written last week and a lot has changed since I submitted it. I was going to write an update here but Linda Buquet’s massive review of pre and post Pigeon SERPs does the job well, so let’s leave it to her. Here’s her take on what you can do for now, but read the whole post:

1) Google is in control, so not whole lot we can directly do to change things.

BUT they do everything for users! So there is something with this algo 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) I don’t think Google really cares much what a bunch of SEOs think, so our complaints may fall on deaf ears.

They do however care very much for what users think!

So on the examples above and any other bad results you find where spam or bad results (dead listings or bogus listings) are ranking, use the “SEND FEEDBACK” link at the bottom of the 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 really spammy listings or bogus listings with parked pages and disconnected numbers, try reporting them and try to get them taken down.

Even if mods won’t deal with the problem maybe if they see a big uptick in spam reports, they’ll realize that this algo is surfacing too many bad listings.

4) If you have a client that suffers due to spam in the SERPs, explain it’s a bad update and reassure them it won’t last forever and will likely be corrected. Repeat #3 if there are bad listings knocking them out of the SERPs. You could also point them to this thread so they realize it’s not just them or not something you did. 

5) Continue to work on all the best practice stuff, just like you always have. When this algo shifts to something more logical and fair – you will benefit.

6) There is really no way to “optimize” for this algo because the 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.
Or as Mike would say “Take 2 beers and call me in the morning!” 

Read the full post: Google Pigeon Collateral Damage & What You Can Do About It




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7 Response Comments

  • Linda Buquet  August 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing Andrew!

    I tried really hard to have that post not be just full of “pigeon droppings” and outing all the bad results. Also tried to think of some solutions that would help in the meantime until they straighten this one out!

  • Michael klasno  August 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I think SEO’s would do well listening to Linda’s #6 . . . stop looking at SERPs til this thing blows over AND “Take 2 beers and call me in the morning!” Google changes so often, if we jump every time an algo change happens we will go nuts and our clients will suffer because we will have only part of the picture.

    The old adage “revenge is a meal better served cold” might apply here. Let it cool down, report the SPAM listings you do find and see where it leads. wait and see what the power brokers in the SEO world come up with and then formulate SEO tactics that serve your clients needs.

    just MHO

  • Linda Buquet  August 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Good advice. Thanks Michael!

  • Chris  August 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I don’t know if this has been discussed, but do you think the reason that review sites like Avvo and zocdoc are appearing in the local results is because they have a physical presence in that city?

    Zocdoc is based out of NYC, hence the listing in searches for “dentist in NYC”. I don’t know much about Avvo, but I suspect they may have an office in LA.

  • Linda Buquet  August 6, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Good thought, but no Chris.

    It’s a scammy atty that made up names and just linked to those sites.

    Here is the link to both listings – done by Atty Robert Brenner. Here are both listings:

  • Andrew Shotland  August 6, 2014 at 10:49 am

    For the record, there’s nothing inherently wrong about using a 3rd party site as your local website. But these types of pages have a habit of picking up a lot of suspicious backlinks over time…

  • Linda Buquet  August 6, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Actually I think that would be true Andrew in the case of a small biz with no site that linked to THEIR OWN profile page.

    But this case it’s clearly a violation. He’s not linking to his own profile but to the full search results pages that list all the PI attys in LA, since that page has more content juice.

    Guidelines say: Website & Phone: …provide one website that represents your individual business location.

    So fake KW stuffed name + linking to all the PI attys in LA to me is super spammy.