Back in April 2002, Google attempted to fool the masses with its PigeonRank technology, just in time for April Fool’s Day. Fast-forward to 2014, and an algorithm run by a Pigeon update is not so far-fetched – at least not by name. The Google Pigeon update (named so by the good folks over at Search Engine Land in absence of an official name by Google) launched in late July, affecting the local search results. In a post at SEL, they highlighted the intent of the algorithm:

Google told us that the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more. In addition, Google said that this new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters.

Early analysis showed local directory sites like Yelp getting a boost in the search results. And Andrew Shotland of LocalSEOGuide.com highlighted the algorithm’s new ability at SEL:

We are really interested in how this update moved Google more in the direction of hyperlocal search. Something that has been flying under the radar on this update is the neighborhood specific location settings that previously seemed to be just a test are now live everywhere as far as I can tell.

But feelings were mixed on the update. Where queries that usually displayed a 7-pack in the local results, there were none, some reports said. And Mike Blumenthal over at Blumenthals.com said the change was merely Google’s response to changing searcher behavior, but the problem was that “we don’t really have the tools to fully understand some of these changes and really measure their impacts on the local business.” In his analysis, Mike says the

Google Pigeon update is able to better understand location on mobile and desktop, and has “drawn smaller radius around the presumed location of the searcher from which to draw the local search results,” and that this is “causing the more dramatic shifts in measurable desktop results.” There’s a nice summary about what marketers are seeing to date with the new local algo here. And at BrightEdge, we’re tracking this change closely within our platform, and will keep readers updated on the findings of our research. Has your business been impacted by the Google Pigeon update in some way? Let us know in the comments below.

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google update, algorithm change, google