Google Pigeon – The Latest Algorithm Update

The latest in a long line of Google updates, both minor and major, the Pigeon update was rolled out on July 24, 2014 for results in US English. It has been cited as one of the biggest local search algorithm updates in recent years and while Google has chosen not to disclose too many details at the moment, there has been significant reaction from webmasters around the details.

There have been reports, from both webmasters and SEOs, of widespread changes to local rankings of their websites. Our points below provides you everything that has so far been discovered about the “Pigeon Update”.

What We Know So Far

All initial reports, both from Google and from webmasters, seem to indicate that the Pigeon does not seek to impose penalties like the Panda and the Penguin, but rather aims to provide users more valuable, accurate, and relevant local search results.

  1. Local Listing Packs: One of the major changes noticed is a significant reduction in the number of queries which include a local listing pack on search engine results pages (SERPs). Moz Cast reports a fall on July 27 to 3.3% from 12.1% on July 23.What You Need to Do: You need to work, in the long-term, on getting your missing search listings back for the keywords affected, while you run a short-term PPC campaign to cover for immediate traffic losses.
  2. Website Authority: Traditional ranking factors have apparently been brought back in a major way, so that local rankings will now be more dependent on backlinks, website authority, and other SEO ranking signals.What You Need to Do: Conduct comprehensive competition research in order to determine where you lack in comparison to your competitors’ general SEO characteristics, with a particular focus on content and backlinks. Contact us and we will do a free SEO Competitive Analysis.
  3. Local Directories: A significant boost has been noticed in the rankings of local directories, particularly of Yelp. There have even been cases where the entire results page was comprised of popular local directories.What You Need to Do: Pigeon has practically made it essential for you to establish a strong presence for your business on the most popular local directories for your industry so that potential clients can find your business website. Get on all the popular local search directories!
  4. Local Carousel: No changes have been noticed in the performance of local carousel results, and thus, they can be used just as before to gain exposure for certain local keywords.What You Need to Do: Make sure that you complement your business profile with an attractive, high quality photo, so that you can gain full advantage of local carousel results, and of their focus on the image used in your listing.

Google’s algorithm updates have become quite the norm over recent years, yet no matter how many changes are introduced, the basic SEO principles remain the same. Simply ensure that you continue to use white hat SEO techniques and that your website’s general SEO characteristics are just as good or even better, than the competition.

About the Author

Matthew Goulart

Matthew Goulart is the founder of Ignite Digital, a Canadian digital marketing agency. Through Ignite Digital, Goulart works with Fortune 500 companies and advertising agencies from around the world and has helped launch profitable and highly successful digital marketing initiatives for his clients.