In July 25th 2014 Google announced the largest local search algorithm update thus far. The main focus of the algorithm update is to provide better search results for local searches but this algorithm is still in its infancy. As the pigeon is just learning to fly there have been many businesses that dropped in rank (referred to as pigeon droppings). It is still too early to say if Google will clean up these dropped sites and return them to their previous ranking but most SEO experts are expecting this new update to be a permanent game changer.
You may want to know, “why has my site lost its previous ranking?” The reason is that Google is looking to put more importance on location where before it was more on site value. It may be easier to understand it this way: other Google algorithms (penguin and panda) are designed to find sites that are seen as bad and penalize them. Pigeon is designed to promote websites contained in a certain area. More specifically it is designed to promote directories that contain lots of different websites in one database. This results in other sites being demoted as these directories take a more prominent position.
You may have noticed changes in Google yourself on some of your regular searches. For instance, 7 packs are being shrunk down to 3 packs or are being dropped completely. By 7 packs I mean those listings on the first page of a search that looked different than other results and were designated A to G. These allowed websites to be shown, not directories, as they were seen as trusted sites. As these packs are now being taken out there are fewer places for actual websites as directories are taking over.
How can Google do this?
Well it may be harsh to say, but they do have some form of monopoly on internet searching. That is, the majority of searches are done on Google and these changes affect businesses but usually help users. Since it helps users, they will keep using Google and give Google significant sway in the internet search engine world. This leaves little choose for online businesses except to be at the whim of Google and its algorithm changes. However, let us stress that pigeon is still being tested and the changes are not consistent across the board yet. Google may find that too much importance is being given to directories and scale back some parts of the algorithm or change it completely.
We here at LinkNow Media will keep a close eye on pigeon as it grows and stabilizes so stay tuned for updates.