Google Pigeon and Local SEO

Google’s Pigeon update affects those whose queries are local in nature. Problem is, Google is seeing more and more queries as being local in nature.

For example, “pizza” is probably the most demonstrated local search query. Google knows you want pizza and knows you want it now, so it doesn’t bother showing you results from But now, more and more queries are behaving similar to local queries. Google sporting goods to see what I mean. Do you want sporting goods now? Maybe. But maybe is big change from no.

Enter Pigeon

To me, Pigeon seems like an effort to share mobile and desktop experiences. It makes sense, from Google’s perspective, to standardize these experiences as people using their service use the device that’s most convenient for them and not for the device that’s most appropriate for their location. Just because I’m at home and my desktop is on doesn’t mean I’m going to search using my desktop. And just because I’m connected to my home Wi-Fi network on my iPhone doesn’t mean I want national results because my IP isn’t issued by a mobile provider.

Image quality now a conversion factor

With Pigeon comes a reduction in Google’s use of the local 3 or 7 pack and an increase in use of the image carousel. That means the quality of the images you upload to Google Plus / Google My Business can influence conversion rate. Also, carousel images are shown side-by-side instead of top-to-bottom which diminishes the perceived ranking of one result above another.

Your star rating could be your new SERP ranking

Because carousel results are shown side-by-side, your star rating could be just as important as whether or not you rank at all. Best ways to increase your star ranking

  • Don’t suck
  • Treat your clients or patrons kindly
  • Ask for reviews on your home page and inside your email marketing

Do your NAP work

Local directories such as Yelp can do wonders for your company’s ability to rank locally. Be sure to standardize the appearance of your company’s name, address and phone number (NAP) across relevant directories. Use to audit yourself.

Don’t suck

This is literally my favorite piece of SEO advice ever. Focus on making your business great before ever thinking about how to get business from Google. The technical stuff can be easily fixed but a poor business model, poor service and/or a poor product cannot.





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