It had to happen, and it has. The newest Google update, named Pigeon, is focused on local search results, and it has had some rather wide reaching effects.
Aimed at bettering local search results and tying local results more closely to standard web ranking signals, Pigeon is still being measured as to its effects on local sites. Some of the more obvious changes are noted below, but generally speaking, first impressions seem to be indicating that large brands and sites that are not true local sites are not faring as well.
Let’s take a look at 3 ways Pigeon is apparently impacting local search, and what if anything there is to do about it.
3 Ways Pigeon is affecting local search
This is a win for the brand directories – If you happen to be a large brand directory such as Yelp, TripAdvisor or Yellowpages.com, you are enjoying the ride. These sites are seeing as much as a 10 percent rise in traffic and rankings, often appearing multiple times for a local search query.
A far smaller Google Map presence – The area covered in a Google Map listing for local has shrunk considerably, giving fewer businesses a shot at being included, and thus creating more room for more directory results. It also makes it more difficult for businesses located in the suburbs to find their way in there as well.
Down with the 7 pack – The 7-pack of local results has vanished for most search terms, only appearig for the most popular queries. Instead they have been replaced with a 3-pack of results or sometimes none at all. This results in a traffic loss for sites no longer in the 7-pack of around 16 percent a month! That should get your attention.
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. 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 may be all you get for a while.