Google just updated its local search algorithm with better technology for location and distance.

Google allegedly released a new local SEO algorithm that could impact geo-specific searches moving forward. Barry Schwartz reported on the development, saying Google confirmed the update to local web search and Maps results, but the search engine failed to give details about the number of queries this will likely affect. (Schwartz has now coined the algorithm as “Pigeon.”) 

The information available now provides three key insights for marketers with local SEO strategies:

  1. Most of the changes are taking place on the back-end of Google’s search functionalities – meaning there isn’t much webmasters can do to optimize their website content yet. 
  2. This update is expected to improve Google’s ability to rank based on distance and location. 
  3. Local results could start to look more like the answers people get for general queries, which means richer context-driven media.

“Google told us that the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more,” Schwartz wrote.

Interestingly, the algorithm update coincides with the release of Google’s new Maps feature, Explore. It ALSO aims Pigeon local SEO algorithmto provide consumers with better data about the organizations that are around them, putting information from the digital world directly into play with in-person experiences.

For now, this algorithm refresh only applies to English queries, although it’s expected to expand to other languages in the future. It has yet to be seen whether the new local search algorithm will give nearby businesses the best visibility, or how it will shake up results otherwise.

Have you noticed anything different in local results pages?

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.