Yogis know that the pigeon pose claims to help adjust and realign the hips. It’s an especially effective stretch for our chair-bound work lives. However, Google’s adjustments of its local results have only led to more pain for users looking to Google for accurate details on local restaurants, lawyers, yoga studios — you name it.

There was the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, and now we have the Pigeon update. This post will discuss Panda 4.0 and Pigeon, as well as the everlasting, yet succinct, E-A-T long-term guidelines.

Panda 4.0

As with the other Panda updates, this targets poorly constructed websites with thin content, but with SEO tactics that are not necessarily frowned upon. (For more on that, see Pigeon.)  For those who have been making an effort to create outstanding, unique and helpful content, such as this e-book on brain injuries, you’re on the right track, and you should expect further updates to make your positioning even sweeter. For those of you regurgitating motor vehicle accident news on your blog, or still keyword stuffing, you’ve hit rock bottom and you should know it by now.


Focused on the local results, Pigeon is often referred to as the “7 Pack” for the 7 listings adjacent to the Google Map with those familiar little red balloons. While a lot of us are waiting patiently to understand exactly what this rollout means, there has been some shakeup with our clients so far. However, the biggest impact is seen in the largest metro markets.


Screenshot of Cleveland client still appearing in the “7-pack”

Pigeon, believed to originate from the antitrust dispute between Yelp and Google, has been a sloppy effort to give legitimate directories proper rankings. In the mix of it, many law firm sites have been replaced by poor directories, which does not inherently improve the results.

Since this update is new and is ostensibly a screw up that Google will need to tweak, your options are limited if your placement has taken a hit.

What you can do:

  1. Look into the directories that may be ranking for terms that you know historically generate adequate traffic. Should the cost be worth it, keep the contract as short as possible.
  2. If review sites are appearing, be sure to work on getting reviews.
  3. If you’re not already using paid search, now is the time. A good Google shakeup typically sends people running to paid search and puts dollars into Google’s bank account.

E-A-T Guidelines

Overreaching the Panda 4.0 and other updates are the new E-A-T Google guidelines. E.A.T. stands for “expertise, authority and trustworthiness.” If your career has carried an emphasis on a particular topic or niche, then you may be considered an expert. Attempts to appear as an expert are becoming more and more difficult as Google pulls from indicators around the web to determine who is, in fact, truly an expert.

A related guideline is being an authority. While very similar to an expert, an authority has already been recognized and promoted as an “expert.”  So if you have not been promoting your hard work, its time to get on it. Don’t be discouraged if you have delayed in getting a proper strategy in place to promote yourself — but do get started.

The last point is a sense of trust. It is believed the “trust measurement” will come from reviews and rating websites, so if you have also delayed on asking for reviews and testimonials from previous clients, it is time to take action. Satisfied clients, you will find, enjoy promoting the businesses that have done right by them, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that money won’t make you an expert — or a recognized authority — and it certainly won’t make people trust you. This is why users love the organic (free) results. For those true experts with the authority and trust, now is the time act and see tremendous results.

There is paid search for the rest.

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