If you own a business and have an affiliated website, you may have noticed a change in your website ranking on Google within the past week.
Last Thursday Google released an update to its local search algorithm which will more closely link Google Maps search results to traditional Google Web search results and ranking signals. The unnamed update was quickly dubbed the “Pigeon” update by Search Engine Land, who spoke briefly with Google reps about the update.
A smaller gap between Maps and Web search sets means a stronger emphasis on organic reach and creating more relevant local search results: Searching for your nearest (and most popular) pizza joint directly in Google Maps will yield similar results as you’d get by plugging the same query into Google’s main search engine function. As such, businesses may notice an increase or decrease in their ranking and website referrals, all depending on their current organic reach. This may be a good time to consider checking your business’ data quality and where you fall in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) these days, especially if you have more than one business location.
Search Engine Land’s article also reports improvements in search features like Knowledge Graph, spelling corrections and synonyms, and location and distance ranking parameters. All these edits are great news for the local search and SEO industries: Improved accuracy and relevance combined with a tighter connection to Google’s ranking signals means a better (and more personalized) product for consumers.
The Pigeon update is only be in effect in the United States so far. No word yet from Google if/when it will be applied to Google search engines in other countries.