Last week, Google made new search waves when it rolled out updates to its local search algorithm.
The “Pigeon” update (the name Search Engine Land gave it in absence of an official name from Google) aims to deliver improved local search results, with enhanced distance and location ranking parameters.
According to Google, the new local search algorithm ties deeper into the site’s web search capabilities, leveraging hundreds of ranking signals, along with search features like spelling correction capabilities, synonyms and Google’s knowledge graph.
David Mihm, Director of Local Search Strategy at Moz
Overall, this update seems like an amplification of the previous silent Hummingbird update from last fall. Just like last time, I would argue that the quality of the SERPs has been downgraded, with “search results within search results” (i.e. directories) getting rewarded relative to their pre-Pigeon position.