How is Google Pigeon Impacting Local Search Results?

It had to happen, and it has. The most recent Google update, named Pigeon, is all about local search results, and it has had some rather wide reaching effects.

The stated aim of this update is to more closely tie local results with what the standard web ranking signals are now. This is presumably done to make rankings more consistent, and improve the quality of the results. While it’s unclear if it will succeed in those aims, there are a few ramifications that are clear, and the effects they are having is very real for some local businesses.

Let’s take a quick look at what the first impressions of this Pigeon are, and how it is impacting local search results.

3 Ways Pigeon is affecting local search

  • Strong brand directories are winning – Directories like Yelp, TripAdvisor and are seeing an up to 10 percent increase in traffic and rankings, often showing up multiple times for a local search.
  • Smaller map radius – The view shown by Maps is now in many cases much smaller, reducing the number of businesses found in an area, and consequently opening the door for more directory results in order to have anything to show at all. This makes it problematic for locations just outside the exact search area to be found as a choice in a neighboring locale search.
  • Phasing out of the 7 pack – Far fewer local search terms are benefiting from the increased visibility of the 7-pack. Even though some larger search terms still show this, most now show a 3-pack with a reduced map radius, or nothing at all. The real world traffic loss experts are reporting that a local business not showing up any longer in the map pack is losing 16 percent a month. Quite significant.

The Pigeon update still has a lot of shaking out to do, and there may be more changes to come, as there always are with this kind of algorithm shift. Local SEO experts agree, sticking with fundamental local SEO techniques and high quality websites is the smartest approach. The best thing local site owners can do at this point is make sure they are well-optimized in the local directory results, as that could be all you get for a while.

Ask your managed IT service provider if they provide SEO .

Posted on: 11.12.14