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Since the end of July the local search community has been frantically trying to decipher what effect the Google Pigeon update has had on their businesses and clients. The resulting frenzy has been something like this famous movie scene.However it seems that the recent Google Pigeon update has done more than change around the order in the carousel. We've discovered something that has flown under the Pigeon radar. Previously state level terms such as New Jersey Hotels or Resorts in Florida only displayed organic search results. Unless there was an anomaly or a search term that can be taken to be state or city level (New York for example) the local pack or carousel never displayed.Over the last few days (and since the Pigeon began around the end of July) we have started noticing the carousel display for state level keywords. For example this is the local carousel results for "Hotels In New Jersey".
As you can see the locations shown are in various cities from New Brunswick to Newark. So we started testing. To begin with we tested how the location you are in affects the search. This next search was for "Florida Resorts" and the location in Google was set as Tampa, FL.
As you can probably tell the results here are a little different because they are focused around the city of Tampa. An interesting thing occurs when you change your location. Here are results for "Resorts In Florida" but with our location set to Orlando, FL.
Now our results in Google carousel are set around the city of Orlando. We discovered that when you searched for a state you were actually located in your state level results would always be changed to become more local to you. Google has been using your set location to personalize results for users for years so this is no great surprise.
This tells us that local search marketing best practices are still very important and ranking in the carousel for state level terms shouldn't be the be all and end all. You should always ensure your business can be found easily when the search is occurring close to your actual location.
We also noticed some odd things that occurred with the map beneath the carousel. Here is a search for "Resorts In Colorado". Note the map beneath the carousel.
The birds eye map view is over a random location within Colorado and only actually contains 2 of the resorts shown in the carousel. We suspect this is a slight bug that occurring since the state level terms were introduced and it'll be ironed out at some point soon.The new state level terms are likely part of the neighborhood level search that was also introduced as part of pigeon. Areas colloquial names are now very useful for local search and even areas as small as a few blocks are definable.Keep your eye on your Google local results over the next few weeks as more changes and rapid ranking movement is likely to continue to occur as everything is fine tuned.