Google Update Optimizes Local Search Results

In July 2014 Google updated its algorithm for local search. This has led to more specific and accurate local search results. The impacts of this algorithm update (which is also known as “Pigeon”) are now known and cover the following points:

  • This update affects search results both in Google Web Search and Google Maps. Google Maps used to provide different search results before the update.

  • Search results for local search are now more closely tied to the ranking factors of Web Search.

  • Websites of local directories (like Yelp, TripAdvisor, OpenTable etc.) have received a higher visibility and are therefore ranking better.

  • Pigeon is the biggest algorithm update for local search so far.

  • The quality of local search results was improved by respecting both conventional and colloquial terms for the same neighborhood. Also, the new algorithm will provide results that are slightly outside of the searched-for local neighborhood.

  • Darran Shaw believes to have identified some business types that have experienced lower rankings for local search queries since the update:

    • mold removal

    • dui lawyer

    • real estate/realtors

    • emergency plumber

    • commercial * (painting, construction, remodeling, etc) – anything with commercial preceding it

  • Map packs (see screenshot) have dropped according to Shaw’s measures.



This update was introduced in the US in July 2014. In December the UK, Canada and Australia followed. For all other countries the update was not yet rolled out. However, it can be expected that the update will soon be introduced to more countries.

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Source header image: MarketingLand