Local Search Gets A Raw Deal

One of my favorite marketing blogs is “AimClearBlog”. Here’s an excerpt from a recent post about how Google’s latest algorithm is creating tons of issues for local business owners.

“Local business owners: Have your rankings plummeted? Did traffic fall off a cliff? No longer appearing in a crucial Google map result? You may have been affected by Google’s local search algorithm update, appropriately dubbed Pigeon by the fine folks at Search Engine Land. It’s been almost two months since the update rolled out, and while it seems the crap hasn’t yet dried, plenty of businesses have taken a direct hit.

We’ve rounded up some of the best resources on Pigeon from local search experts —from the moment the news broke to early effects and analysis, ramifications and advice on shifting strategy—and provided brief, digestible summaries for easy reference. The links are listed in chronological order so you can follow the progression of the rollout and ensuing recovery advice.

Google “Pigeon” Updates Local Search Algorithm With Stronger Ties To Web Search Signal – Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land, July 24

Barry Schwartz broke the news at Search Engine Land on July 24. The then-unnamed* update was designed to provide “more useful, relevant and accurate local search results,” he reported. Barry summarized the changes, as shared by Google, as such: “the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities” and “improves their distance and location ranking parameters.” The changes, rolling out to English U.S. results, are visible in Google Web and Maps search results. Barry warned that the update would affect local search rankings and that some local businesses might see changes in referrals. No word from Google on if and when the update would be rolled out to other countries and languages.

*On July 25, Search Engine Land named the update Pigeon, lacking an official name from Google. Although the name was given because, as SEL described it, “this is a local search update and pigeons tend to fly back home,” many search marketers came to find it an apropos moniker for an algo change that crapped all over local results.”