Google Releases "Pigeon" Update to Local Search

Here we go again - Another Google Algorithm update.

Google Pigeon update for your website seo.jpgOn July 25th, Google released a new algorithm that is intended to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. The changes will affect the way results are displayed within both Google Maps search results and Google Web search results.

What you need to know.

The changes we are seeing so far are significant in some cases and minimal in others. As of today, the changes are continuing to roll-out but we are already seeing some pretty significant changes in the rankings, such as:
  • The Maps 7 Pack is no longer showing for a number of industry related searches, such as real estate related searches, apartment & house rentals, and DUI lawyer related searches.
  • Maps results have returned for some industries, such as Marketing, Web Design, and Private Investigators.
  • There appears to be less duplication of listings in Maps and local search results.
  • The radius of the search for Maps appears to have decreased placing even more value on having a central, physical location.
  • Some Maps results have dropped from showing a 7 Pack to a 3 Pack.
  • Some questionable sites that were previously showing multiple listings are now showing fewer listings or have been removed entirely.

What you need to do.

Right now, for most businesses there is nothing you need to do immediately. The big exception is for industries where Google is no longer showing the Map pack in Local results. In these cases, there is nothing you can do since Google is controlling what gets displayed. If you fall in this category, then you should turn your focus to getting found in the regular organic results. It takes time, but this is your only other option for organic right now.

If you notice a drop in calls & leads, then you may also want to consider using Google PPC advertising to regain page 1 prominence. Note: We are seeing new Map packs for industries that they had previously disappeared from. So, there's a chance that they could return as the changes continue to roll out.

If you have been managing your Local SEO according to Google guidelines then you should be okay. With each new update from Google, we're seeing more and more spammy sites and sites that use questionable techniques get penalized.  We still see our share of poorly optimized sites that rank well, but the numbers are declining. If your website and Google My Business listing has not been optimized, then now would be a good time to get started.

P.S.  If you get a call from Google offering to help you claim your listing (we get them every week), then just ignore it. Google does not contact businesses regarding local listings.  Google's official statement on telemarketing calls is that they do not:

  • Google does not place robocalls.
  • Google does not call to "update your front page listing" or ask you to "claim your free website."
  • Google does not charge for inclusion in Google Search or Places.

Feel free to contact us if you have other questions or are just really confused by all this Google stuff.

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Posted by Doug Fowler on July 30, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization, Google | 0 Comments