So about a week ago Google came out with another algorithm update for local search.  Though they did not name it, the industry has since called it “Pigeon” to follow with the tendency to name after animals and some say because Pigeons tend to fly home, and this is a local update.  Though the industry is still trying to figure out the ramifications and changes that have taken place, I just wanted to comment on some of the early findings.

From reading around about what some key local search industry people are saying, like Mike Blumenthal, Darren Shaw, and Nyagoslav Zhekov, it appears that some industries have seen drastic shifts in showing local results and we’ve seen changes in the number of local results that are showing.  Some initial findings from what I’ve seen.  There is still much to be determined and I don’t believe any of this has been scientifically proven yet, but wanted to give you all a taste.  Any comments on how it may have changed your individual local market are definitely welcome.  Since Google never tells us exactly what is happening, all we can do is rely on each other.

Observed Changes in the Algorithm

  • The Google calculation of center for determining location seems to have changed
  • Some keywords that were not triggering local results are now triggering local results
  • Some keywords that were triggering local results are no longer triggering local results
  • It appears directory sites (Yelp, etc.) with multiple local listings have been given more power (I hate this: Feel they are all about the same)
  • Overall, there seems to be a significant drop in the number of “7 packs” and a rise in “3 packs” meaning actual local businesses in general appear to be getting less space on the front page.

All of these changes could lead to significant dents or improvements in your traffic. If you were a business that had worked your way up to 4th in a 7 pack and suddenly they are only showing 3, you are now off the front page.  If you were getting a significant amount of traffic from local search and suddenly Google stopped showing local results for your market and only organic, you may have lost significant business.  The opposite side of this is those that may have received an influx of traffic because of the same issues.  We will keep an eye on this and welcome any of your own observations as time moves forward.  Another thing to keep in mind is that Google often tweaks or slowly rolls out these changes, so they may not be over.  Data we see today may change next week or be rolled back because it didn’t get its intended results.

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