Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | March 23, 2018

How Google’s New Local Search Algorithm “Pigeon” Will Affect Your Website

There’s been a lot of buzz flying around in the local search community about Google and some bird. To be more specific, Google released a massive algorithm update for local search and Search Engine Land has named this update “Pigeon”.

So what exactly is “Pigeon”?

  • The main reason for this update is to provide local search results that are more relevant and accurate. (SEO PowerSuite)
  • Pigeon isn’t trying to clean up the SERPS from low-quality content like its predecessors Penguin and Panda.
  • The foundation of the change is within the local search ranking algorithm.
  • Currently for all we know, this update only affects US English results.

How does “Pigeon” affect you and your business?
SEO PowerSuite has identified 4 key changes that you should be aware of.

1. A lower number of queries included in a local listing pack on SERPs (there are usually 7 listings)

  • MozCast’s data shows a 23.4% decrease in the queries that are showing a local listing pack.
  • You may experience a drop in your website’s traffic due to the disappearance of some of your local listings.

2. Local rankings are taking an old-school route

  • Local search rankings are now being influenced more by traditional Web search ranking signals (domain authority, backlinks and many other SEO ranking factors).
  • If you see a decline in your local rankings, it may mean your competition’s general website/page SEO characteristics are stronger than yours.

3. Yelp and other well-known local directories are now your new best friend

  • Data shows that local directories have gotten a major boost in search rankings.
  • Your official business website or store pages may be displaced by store listings from directories.

4. Local Carousel still has your back

  • Judging by the looks of it, local carousel results remain unchanged so you’ll still be able to get some extra exposure from it.
  • Make sure you pick out a nice, high-quality photo for your Google+ business profile because that is the picture that is going to show up in the carousel.

What does all this mean?

Local SEO just got even harder…and more important.  With fewer 7 packs, that means to get on page 1 of the serps, you need to be in the top 3 instead of the top 7.

In addition, you need to make sure that if you are a chain, you must have an optimized web page for each store so that Google can build trust around that page and have you show up in search results in that respective city.

With local directories getting a boost in search results, it’s more important than ever to have your stores listed and your NAP (name, address, and phone number) consistent across all the local directories.  There are hundreds of local directories out there that can help boost your rankings.

As you can see this “Pigeon” update has made some big changes in terms of local search rankings. The world of SEO is constantly changing.  In order to keep up with the speed of flight, you must be using local SEO tools to measure changes and get recommendations on where you need to focus your optimization efforts.  That’s precisely why we have built Chatmeter, to help you understand how you are doing, where you can improve, and measure those improvements over time to drive customers to your stores.  We’ve analyzed hundreds of thousands of locations in order to provide our customers with the most accurate and relevant analysis based on the latest search algorithms.

How has Pigeon affected your different locations in ranking? We are offering a free analysis of your own locations using our proprietary local SEO dashboard. To claim your complimentary multi-location brand analysis, simply fill out this —> form.