How is Google Pigeon Impacting Local Search Results?


It had to happen, and it has. The most recent Google update, named Pigeon, is all about local search results, and it has had some rather wide reaching effects.

Aimed at improving local search results and tying local results more closely to standard web ranking signals, Pigeon is still being weighted as to its effects on local sites. A few of the more obvious changes are noted below, but generally speaking, first impressions are indicating that large brands and sites that are not true local sites are not faring as well.

Let’s take a look at 3 ways Pigeon is apparently impacting local search, and what if anything there is to do about it.

3 Initial effects Pigeon is having on local search

  • This is a win for the brand directories – If you happen to be a large brand directory such as Yelp, TripAdvisor or, you are enjoying the ride. These sites are seeing as much as a 10 percent rise in traffic and rankings, many times appearing multiple times for a local search query.
  • A far smaller Google Map presence – The area covered in a Google Map listing for local has shrunk considerably, giving fewer businesses a shot at being included, and thus opening up more room for more directory results. It also makes it more difficult for businesses located in the suburbs to find their way in there as well.
  • Down with the 7 pack – The 7-pack of local results has vanished for most search terms, only around for the most popular queries. Instead they’ve been replaced with a 3-pack of results or sometimes none at all. This results in a traffic loss for sites no longer in the 7-pack of around 16 percent a month! That should get your attention.

As the Pigeon update plays out and the feathers quit flying, and undergoes a few incarnations, it’s going to be more clear what the lasting impact is going to be for your local search results. For now, making sure you are optimizing your local directory listings for all they’re worth appears to be your best line of defense.