Did Google’s “Pigeon” update just poop on your local SEO efforts?August 8, 2014
Just over a week ago (July 24th), news began spreading that Google had made changes to its local ranking algorithm, dubbed “Pigeon” by Search Engine Land in absence of an official name by Google.
I was going to write a huge SEO post analyzing this update for several real estate categories, but in doing research I found several counter intuitive results that made me rethink my decision and choose to wait it out a bit longer before making any substantial claims and recommendations.
One major problem is the local “map pack” which was supposed to have disappeared for 60% of searches, was still there for several of the real estate related searches I was performing. However, for some others it’s now completely gone.
So, what’s the big deal?
The big deal is, that for those unlucky souls in an area where the map pack is now gone, rankings, impressions and traffic numbers took a massive nose dive the day they flipped the switch, and people started freaking out (some rightfully so – see the screenshot below of a client’s impressions).To go from 200 impressions per day to less than 50, and potentially all the way to zero if the last couple day trend holds up… is a pretty hard pill to swallow when Google claims it’s just experimenting with various ways of presenting relevant local search results that more closely resemble organic search results. Do they not realize they’re also “experimenting” with people’s income as well?
This is a perfect example of why I always recommend against putting all your eggs in one basket when it comes to online traffic sources, especially if they happen to be pigeon eggs. 🙂