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The Google Pigeon Algorithm Update: What you need to know

If you're just starting out your own e-commerce business, chances are you're wearing more than one hat. In addition to inventory and product management, balancing the bills and establishing a recurring customer base, you're likely working to understand search engine optimization, marketing and the like. For a new-business owner, this may be uncharted waters, so it's important to know how to adequately design your site to not only meet the needs of Google, but also how to understand their continual updates going forward.

The flagship search engine company is constantly updating their search algorithms to keep pace with fluid consumer demands, and their latest update is no exception to that sentiment. Industry website Search Engine Land dubbed the unnamed update "Pigeon" since the update was largely based on local search rankings and Pigeons are often flying back to the area they are most familiar with: home.

Local rankings take precedence

The new algorithm was aimed at providing more useful, relevant and accurate search results to local queries. Local businesses may have seen an increase or decrease in web traffic and new customer leads as a result. The U.S. English search queries were updated by the algorithm change as well. Local searches were made to better mimic organic search rankings as queries had deeper ties into Google's Web search capabilities, such as the Knowledge Graph, synonyms and more. The map and distance measurement tools that Google uses were also updated, so local searches were fine-tuned to be more accurate than ever before.

Other recent updates

In addition to improving local searches, Google also has taken a firm stance on user security. The Silicon Valley-based Internet giant recently updated its algorithm to factor in the security of certain websites. In fact, encrypted websites are now given a lightweight boost in their search engine query results.

What's more, people using Google search, Gmail and Google Drive will have the luxury of added security since Google added HTTPS/SSL encryption as a standard protocol for most of its services. Since individuals are using the cloud more nowadays, Google decided to bolster its security vault for SaaS-based functions so that sensitive user data wouldn't be vulnerable to potential third-party breaches online. This update specifically can modestly help your website with respect to search engine rankings, and adding an extra layer of security certainly cannot hurt the operational aspects of the business.

Not only is Google adding security to their cloud-based functions - and rewarding the companies that do the same - they've also removed authorship within search queries. This will mainly affect your website if you're producing high volumes of published content. It won't necessarily impact your search engine rankings in a negative manner, especially if your content is updated on a regular basis. Rather, users won't be able to see who the specific author of certain content is. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller recently said in a release that removing authorship typically doesn't affect or reduce traffic to a website, so as long as your content is fresh and legitimate, your content strategy shouldn't be impacted.

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