Scroll to top

Probe, Pigeon and Prominence

Local SEO Ranking Signal

Prominence as a New Local SEO Ranking Signal

“Google only loves you when everyone loves you first”. – Wendy Piersall

With internet access making its way to millions across the globe, the world wide web is now a whole new playing field for businesses.

Thanks to the new and emerging tech-savvy generation of businessmen and customers, sticking up a banner on an nth storied building now needs to find an online equivalent. And the talk around tech-town is that SEO is the way to go. SEO or search engine optimization refers to how you can affect and improve the way search engines rank you in their results.

While Google uses an algorithm to rank local businesses in search results;  the following three broad parameters encompass the basis on which local business get ranked on Google search results:

Let’s have a look:

1. Relevance

2. Distance

3. Prominence

With prominence being the newest addition to this algorithm, often called the Pigeon update (2014) it has been touted by SEO experts as amongst the most significant updates in the last 10 years on search engine usage.

According to this, a business that is more prominent shall be ranked higher. Google will look at your rankings, review, and number of times your business has been mentioned across the internet and well, the more thou hast, the higher thou shalt be ranked.

f you take a look at a search I did on the word ‘restaurant’, my top three results are definitely geographically close to me but the third in the list is actually the closest. Tisha, on the other hand, is quite frequented by college goers and often mentioned online-a blog or two, zomato. And you guessed it right, Punjabi Dhaba lost out here despite being some 900m from where I am sitting down, hammering away on a worn-out laptop. So, there. Prominence.

Mishop.local are specialists in local listing optimization, and here is what Dave Whatley, their Managing Director had to say. “Pigeon actually strengthens the case for building your local listings. A business should be listed on the bigger sites that are appearing above the traditional local results. It is too soon to say what the long term impact of Pigeon will be on local search, however, in our opinion, the fundamentals of Google local search will remain the same; they are about the distance, relevance and prominence of a business and how it is listed in local directories.”


As far as Google’s algorithm goes, techies remain unimpressed with its almost stagnant state of affairs. Despite the latest update being a major one, not much has changed since the beginning of the search engine phenomenon. However for the everyday user out there- on both sides of the search, prominence is a very important addition.

ere are some ways you can use the new and updated SEO to your advantage:

1. Social Media. Create profiles everywhere – Facebook, google business, twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. Make sure via social media marketing practices that people hear about it and like and review your pages and links.

2. Get linked. Ensure that whenever somebody mentions your business, say on a blog or in a comment, they attach a link to your homepage. You URL shall appear more frequently across the internet.

3. Content is king. Whoever said that knew what they were talking about. Ensure that your business website houses relevant content. In addition to being attractive and relevant, content must have a solid strategy. Ensure most searched keywords appear in the content, forcing Google to list in popular searches.

4. Include your location on Google maps in your webpage. This will ensure essential points when somebody is searching close to your physical location. If you refer to the search I did, I can assure you that there are way more and better restaurants much closer to me than those listed. But they do not even appear in the results because of poor local SEO strategy. The words they are looking for: Google Maps.

“SEO is a marketing function for sure, but it needs to be baked into a product, not slapped on like icing after the cake is baked.” – Duane Forrester, webmaster Bing. So it’s better to keep updating yourself and fly higher and higher.

Author avatar
Public advisory against the common scams. Click to read more.