Google Pigeon Algorithm update

What is Google Pigeon: Google Pigeon Algorithm Update For Local Businesses

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Google is always trying to update and refine its tactics and algorithms to improve its functioning. One such key update that really shook up the SEO community was the Google Pigeon algorithm. This evolution was designed to transform local search results.

Insights From The Article

• Launched in 2014, Google Pigeon aims to provide users with more accurate and relevant results by focusing on factors like geographical proximity and user intent.

• Google Pigeon operates by integrating traditional organic search signals with location-based factors, ensuring that local businesses with strong search engine optimization practices and proximity to the user are prioritized in search results.

• Consistent efforts in local website optimization and adaptation to algorithm changes are crucial for long-term success and maintaining a competitive edge in local rankings.

What is The Google Pigeon Algorithm Update?

On July 24, 2014, the Google Pigeon was launched to revolutionize how local search results were generated. The pigeon update mainly aimed to make local search queries more accurate and relevant, giving users better and more location-specific results.

Fun fact: The Google Pigeon update was named to reflect its focus on local search results, similar to how pigeons are known for strong associations with specific areas and homing abilities. 

Purpose of the Google Pigeon Algorithm Update

Most of us are reliant on search engines like Google to find help locating something, especially locally. This update is meant to improve the accuracy of local businesses displayed on search results. Hence, the update focused on two main aspects:

  • Geographical proximity
  • User search intent
Google Pigeon criteria. 

Google Pigeon criteria.

But what caused the update? 
As technology improved, users got used to personalized experiences. This led Google to enhance its location-based search features to meet these evolving expectations and make sure users get the most accurate and relevant local information.

This move was pivotal in catering to the growing needs of users wanting to find something they needed in their immediate vicinity.

What are some Key Features of Google Pigeon Update?

How exactly does Google deliver accurate local results? Let’s find out.

Integration with Organic Search Signals

The Pigeon algorithm doesn’t work alone. Instead, it works together with Google’s main organic or unpaid search ranking signals.

Different categories of traditional web search engine results.

Different categories of traditional web search engine results.

This means that since backlinks, content quality, website loading speed, and mobile friendliness are considered when Google decides local rankings, you need to focus on website optimization efforts for your local business.

Improved Distance and Location Factors

One of the most obvious developments in this update was the accuracy of the refined location and distance data. This helped Google provide a more narrowed result that wasn’t just region or city-specific, but extremely precise and hyper-local results. 

Therefore, searching for a library near the user will prioritize results based on the closest distance to the user. 

Local Pack Search Results

The local pack result is a prominent feature in Google search results that displays a set of local business listings relevant to a user’s query. The first three listings you see when you type in a query is the local pack of 3.

Google 3-Pack.

Google 3-Pack.

With the Google Pigeon update, which aims to provide more accurate and relevant location-based search results, factors such as website quality, content relevance, and backlinks have become more influential in determining local pack rankings. 

Hence, the businesses with better local relevance are featured more prominently.

Directory and Local Search Listing

The Google Pigeon update also improved the visibility of local directories and listing sites. Thus, the sites that worked to continually improve their location-based SEO because of their detailed and locally focused information saw a boost in their rankings.

On the other hand, sites with inconsistent information or less locally relevant content experienced a decline in local rankings.

Looking at User Intent

One of the best changes with this update was the improvement in understanding a user’s search intent – also called semantic search.

4 types of search intent. 

4 types of search intent.

For location-based searches, Pigeon looks at the details of what users type to give results that fit both the exact words and the user’s true intention or need. This means Pigeon can figure out what users want, even if their search isn’t very clear, and show the most relevant local results.

Post-Pigeon Ranking Surge

Google Pigeon’s impact wasn’t the same for all sectors. Those who depend on local queries related to hospitality, healthcare, and retail saw better changes in their rankings. 

Hence, companies that had already focused on location-based SEO strategies before the update were better positioned to benefit from Pigeon’s changes.

What You Can Do

If you know anything about search engine optimization, then you know that you don’t look the other way when it comes to location-based SEO and improving your local ranking.

Here are some things you can do to benefit from this local search algorithm update.

Local SEO Optimization

Since you understand the importance of being visible to users through local SEO, one of the best things you can do for your business is verify your business on relevant local registries like Google Maps, Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo Local Listing, and Yelp for Business Owners.

Since the Google Pigeon update improved visibility on these registries, it’s important to ensure your business is on niche-specific and local directory sites to make it more visible to users. 

Ensure all important details about your business on the listing platforms, like:

  • Your business name, address, and phone number (NAP).
  • Mentioning your location in your keywords on the right pages (like ”London Pizza”).
  • Using local keywords – these are words that people use when looking for a business in your area.

Also, make sure that this information is uniform across all listing platforms.

Mobile Optimization

In this age of digitalization, when more web searches are conducted on mobile devices than on any other device (64%), it’s more important than ever to mobile optimize your site if you want to be prominently visible in search engine land. 

Importance of Mobile Optimization.

Importance of Mobile Optimization.

The Pigeon update emphasized the importance of a good mobile user experience. The algorithm change was more likely to benefit websites optimized for mobile devices.

Content Localization

Content localization is about making your website’s content relevant to local users. As mentioned earlier, this move won brownie points with the Pigeon update.

Creating localized content. 

Creating localized content.

This means having your website with content that is locally relevant – places, events, and other information using locally relevant keywords, and content that meets the specific needs and interests of local users, like local news or event guides, improves engagement and trust.

Continuous Monitoring

Regular monitoring of local search rankings and analytics is essential to understand how your business is performing in local queries. By keeping an eye on these metrics, you can identify digital marketing trends, spot opportunities for improvement, and make informed decisions to optimize your local search optimization strategy.

This helps ensure that your business remains visible and competitive in local search results.

Local SEO in the Post Pigeon Era

Although implemented ten years ago, this algorithm update can be leveraged smartly by many businesses to reward local search optimization efforts.

And, although certain factors, like geographic proximity, are outside our control, Google is sure to reward your SEO efforts, whether they are small or big, as long as they are ethical and follow Google’s guidelines. 

That’s why it’s important to continually work on all areas of link building. You never know which algorithm update might significantly boost your rankings.

Final Thoughts

When Google rolls out an update, businesses that have been diligently maintaining their SEO are more likely to benefit, sometimes moving ahead of competitors who may not have kept up with best practices.

Therefore, ongoing link building efforts are crucial for long-term success and staying ahead in the competitive landscape of SERPs.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

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