Google has released yet another algorithm update, this time impacting local search rankings. The update has been coined “Pigeon,” and it has dramatically changed how Google determines and uses a searcher’s location, intended to provide more relevant, accurate, and useful local search results.

Overall, Pigeon caused a 23.4% drop (1) in local results – a net change with both losers and winners. While some industry experts are skeptical as to whether or not the Pigeon update has actually improved the local search experience, most of our clients have seen a slight improvement in local search rankings via Pigeon. Win!

It seems that the Pigeon update is placing an emphasis on website quality over the dozens of other factors that can affect search rankings (citations, online reviews, etc). So what’s the bottom line? Local search is fickle and complex, and Google can make changes without warning. This reinforces the importance of having a high quality website with unique content that is optimized for mobile viewing, in combination with a monthly online marketing plan that closely monitors and improves your rankings.