When the latest Pigeon update came out about two weeks ago, Google cited offering accurate, more relevant local search as their goal.
What that would actually entail was a bit unexpected.
Immediately, Twitter and blogs were lighting up everywhere: major changes were happening in local search, and no one was quite sure why.
Mozcast was reporting a 61% drop in local search results, local business were disappearing from search results, and most notably, contract-based home service business had in some cases vanished from SERPS.
Something just shy of panic ensued.
As data has slowly evened out and the dust has settled, we’ve been able to more or less uncover the main changes and their implications.
But for SEOs, this is an affirmation that Google is getting smarter at tracking IP addresses, and putting more weight on the true local IP—not just relative search. This places further importance on using local IP’s to conduct competitive research, protect information, and gather true local search results for the area you’re tracking.
A Word on Mobile
Google has shown its own indications that mobile is becoming more and more relevant to search. Back in April they updated the Keyword planner to include a breakdown of keywords search via mobile vs. total searches.
Mobile search and local search are naturally intertwined, given that a large percentage of local searches are conduct by people already on the move—on their phones. Off to a meal, meeting, laundromat, or wherever, these recent changes seem to support mobile searching:
While titles like “Google Dogging Local Search” float around, in reality this is another step to make local search more accurate and mobile-friendly. Yes, there are unfortunate casualties from this, and many past Google changes, but as always, our ability to adapt to these changes where needed will come up trumps and the unwanted spam and interlopers will be gotten rid of, paving the way for a much richer experience all round.
In terms of Google Places, it makes sense that they would want to offer local searchers on the go quick, useful results—and most often that wouldn’t include companies without a physical local.
So what happens to all those contractors, real estate agents, and the like? Unfortunately, that remains to be seen.
But given the most recent update to keyword planner in April, it’s our speculation that Google easily has the capability to track and control whether someone is accessing Google from a mobile device or not. In which case, they could theoretically alter search results in accordance with the needs of mobile vs. non-mobile users.
Trusted Proxies provides Local Enterprise Proxy Servers for use with Keyword Ranking and Data Collection located in most major US Metro areas. In conjunction with our vast network in over 60 countries worldwide, we can help you overcome any casualties from the Pigeon Update and allow you to see Local SERPs as if you were in that location, something which has now become impossible to do without physically searching Google in the location required.