Google Pigeon Set To Overhaul Local Search

Google Pigeon Set To Overhaul Local Search
Posted on Aug 12th 2014

At the end of July, Google introduced a major change to its local search algorithm, informally nicknamed ‘Pigeon.’ The update is designed to improve local search results by integrating them more closely with traditional search features and ranking signals.

As always, Google has remained fairly tight-lipped about their plans, but has stated that moving forward local search will draw more deeply from web search capabilities, pulling in features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction and synonyms with the goal of serving up the most accurate and relevant results possible for its users. The algorithm tweak will also improve distance and location parameters.

Early Analysis

Early evidence suggests that high quality local directory sites have been the first to benefit post-Pigeon. In the first week since the algorithm update, local review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon and OpenTable have been finding their way into the top rankings of Google search results, along with lesser known directory pages from local newspapers and magazines. The change should please ‘online urban guide’ Yelp, in particular, who have previously accused Google of giving prominence to its own listings, even when a user specifically included ‘Yelp’ in their search query.

Right now, Pigeon is only impacting an uncertain percentage of English searches made in the US. When the update starts rolling out around the rest of the world you can expect to see changes in both local and web search results. You may notice a change in your local search rankings, traffic, leads and bookings as a result, so get ready to analyse and adapt as the shake up continues over the coming months.

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