Google Pigeon: A Local Search Update Rolled out by Google branded by SEL in USA

Local Search world is in disarray after Google has implemented a new algorithm that appears to have significant impact the way local search results look and feel in (USA). Google do not have an official name for it and declined to confirm the impact on SERP. Many industry experts are relating this to “Yelp Thinks It’s Getting Screwed by Google” and a potential win for Yelp and other local business directories.

Google told Search Engine Land “the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more.” Good luck making any sense out of this.

Let’s just simplify this, findings of Google USA search results showing there are significant decline in Google owned properties (Local Pack, Carousel) in favour of other local directories and organic results. However we better allow the dust to settle and wait on more data driven analysis to be published. In the graph below Moz track local rankings for thousands of local queries and you can see local pack results declined significantly (60%) but appear to be bouncing back. I will post and update on this graph in coming days.

The new algorithm is currently rolling out for US English results and aims to provide a more useful and relevant experience for searchers seeking local results. Google didn’t share any details about if and when the update would roll out more widely in other countries and languages. This provides Local search experts here in Australia with a window of time to analyse current results and compare results once local search algorithm rolled here in Australia to understand the true significance better.

At BeLocal today we are taking hundreds of screenshots from currents results and will be waiting to take second batch so we can compare. We are also running keywords ranking for couple thousands local keywords to analyse shift on local search results. Stay tuned:

If you are very keen on what other people are thinking on this see few good links below:

Google’s Pigeon Update Solves Yelp Problem, Boosts Local Directories
Google “Pigeon” Updates Local Search Algorithm With Stronger Ties To Web Search Signal
Mike Blumenthal
Max Minzer
Linda Buquet
Barry Schwartz
Local SERP in ‘Turmoil’ after Google ‘Pigeon’ Algorithm Update Google “Pigeon” Local Search Algorithm Launches


MozCast has now updated their query set to better reflect what searchers are seeing. Even though their methodology was different than that of Whitespark, the new results showing a decline in 7-packs due to the Google Local algo update are much the same: a 23.4% drop.

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