The Pigeon has Landed
Those who know me know I always follow ranking closely, an understatement, since really I'm obsessed with it. It's no surprise then that on December 22, 2014, I noticed right away that most of my sites and client sites had changed ranking in local listings. One of my client sites went from 6th in ranking to 1st organically and to 2nd on the map from 3rd. Another went 2nd on the map to 1st and 2nd organically. Another went from the 2nd page to first organically. Another finally showed up on the map for a keyword. The SERPs they were a-changing. So many changed that I knew something major was afoot (should I say awing? Lol.) I suspected that Google's Pigeon update had just landed in Canada. (And no, I don't mean or am misspelling Penguin, this is a totally different bird and Google update.) Pigeon had unrolled in the US in July and was due to unroll in other English-speaking countries as in Canada, UK and Australia sometime this last fall. Even though I suspected Pigeon right away, I couldn't find confirmation of it online for a few days except for a few random rumblings and tweets from others suspecting the same thing.
Most of my sites went up luckily and only a couple went down on the Google local listings with Pigeon so I was pretty happy. Yet local listings themselves had also changed and in places quite dramatically. Where once seven businesses had been listed on the first page in Google results for certain queries, now were only three. Some search queries even lost their local listing packs completely.
Here is an example of a seven pack listing for the query "Calgary computer repair" previous to the changes: