It had to happen, and it has. The newest Google update, named Pigeon, is all about local search results, and it has had some rather wide reaching effects.
The stated objective of this update is to more closely tie local results with what the standard web ranking signals are. This is presumably done to make rankings more consistent, and improve the quality of the results. While it’s not clear whether it will succeed in those aims, there are several ramifications that are clear, and the effects they are having is quite real for some local businesses.
Let’s have 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 like 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 now shrunk considerably, giving fewer businesses a shot at being included, and thus creating more room for more directory results. It also makes it harder 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’ve 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 ought to get your attention.
As the Pigeon update plays out and the dust settles, and runs through a few incarnations, it will be more clear what the lasting impact will be for your local search results. In the meantime, making sure you are optimizing your local directory listings for all they’re worth appears to be your best defense.