On Thursday, July 24, 2014, Google pushed out a major change to its local search ranking algorithm which Search Engine Land has deemed “Pigeon“. First reported by Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land, this change is aimed at providing more relevant and accurate local search results to users and their location.
Schwartz reports that core changes are behind the scenes but that certain local businesses might experience positive or negative changes in site referrals, leads and business. Changes are now visible in Google Maps and Web search results.
How Does the Algorithm Update Impact Local Businesses?
So far with Google Pigeon, we are seeing that Google local search results are now more focused on the geographic proximity of the business to the searcher, which was one of the intended results Google wanted to produce.
Our Observations Thus Far
One of our clients, WIFH, was until yesterday ranking in the Number 1 local position for the search “Laser Hair Removal” in Atlanta – even inside the perimeter. As of this morning we observed they no longer rank No. 1 here at our office in Little 5 Points near Downtown Atlanta:
However, when we change our location position to “Sandy Springs, GA” closer to where WIFH is located, they’re right back in the top spot for “Laser Hair Removal.”
By our observation, it would appear that Google’s new Local Algorithm update has certainly made local maps results more specific to user’s location, which is a positive for users, but will definitely have an impact on regional search visibility for brands in large metro Areas.
Is anyone else seeing a shift in their local search results? Share your observations below!