Google “Pigeon” Updates Local Search Algorithm With Stronger Links With Web Search Signal


Google has released a new algorithm to deliver more useful, relevant, and accurate local search results that are more closely tied to traditional web search ranking signals. The changes will be visible in Google Maps search results and Google Web search results.

Note: We have named this update the Pigeon Update.

The major changes are behind the scenes, but it does impact the ranking of local search results and some local businesses may notice an increase or decrease in website referrals, leads, and business change.

Google told us that the new local search algorithm is more closely related to their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search, as well as search features like as Knowledge Graph, spell checking, synonyms, etc.

In addition, Google said that this new algorithm improves its distance and location ranking parameters.

The new algorithm is currently being rolled out for US English results and aims to provide a more useful and relevant experience for researchers looking for local results. Google has not shared any details on if and when the update will roll out more widely in other countries and languages.

Google has not commented on the percentage of queries impacted by this algorithm update, or whether any web spam algorithms have been deployed in this update.

If you’ve noticed any ranking changes and benchmark changes for your local business, please let us know in the comments.

Image credit to Stock pane

About the Author

Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land Contributing Editor and member of the SMX Events Programming Team. He owns Rusty Brick, a New York-based web consulting company. He also runs Roundtable on search engines, a popular research blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is called Barry cartoon and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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