Local Search Update, Codename: Pigeon

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Algo Changes, Google Maps, Google Updates

Google Gets Pigeon-Focused In Local Search

Yeah, we know, another goofy animal name for something that really impacts the way we live our lives and conduct business everyday; but it’s better than Codename: Fluffy Bunny.

So, what do we know about this update after a few days with it. According to Search Engine Land, the focus of the update is to “provide a more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals.” This resulted in a few noticeable alterations to the organic and Map results (and some less-than-noticeable changes).

Google search for burgers on Google Maps

There is nothing ‘simple’ about a simple burger search.

  1. User searches pull in more local results for both organic and Maps.
  2. Map searches contain local results showing the cumulative reviews score and number of reviews first, business category, a shortened description followed by address. (It’s interesting to note that clicking on the Red Robin listing shows that the Map result is tagged with UTM code.)
    Red Robin Map Link
  3. Organic searches see a different mix of local results in the local banner. Some contain reviews, owner submitted pictures, and details, and others do not. Along with this, the option to organize by price, rating and hours is available.
  4. Adding in local qualifiers alters the results significantly. (Below, Burgers vs Nashville Restaurants)
Burger Search Result Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 10.53.14 AM

“Burger” organic search result page

Nasvhille Restaurant Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 10.59.59 AM

“Nashville Restaurant” organic search result page

Behind the scenes, the algorithm update improves the distance and location evaluation for searches, according to Google.

The Wrapper

As with any algorithm update, the SERPs will be in flux for the next few weeks as the system re-indexes and re-evaluates businesses against the new parameters. This may result in duplicates or multiple listings for the same business in the local pack and organic results or listings disappearing for a period only to return later.


A. Chris TurnerAbout the Author: Chris Turner is also known as ChocolateSEO. CSEO is Chris' Nashville search marketing and consulting service offering a variety of services to help you, your company and any website maximize web-based marketing opportunities. He is the father of three girls, one boy (finally) and husband to the wonderful Savannah. Join the author's circle: Chris Turner on Google+.