A note on Google Pigeon algorithms

Now that we have understood a bit about local SEO, let’s continue our discussion on Google algorithm updates. Today we will look into Google Pigeon update. Google Pigeon  is the youngest component of the Google algorithm updates. The first Pigeon update was rolled out in July 2014. While Panda updates focus on quality of content, and Penguin updates on link building practices; Pigeon update specifically focused on local search.


In essence, the pigeon updates assign more weightage towards locality over authority. Also it took care of some concerns SEOs had in the case of local search like – Google + page given undue importance, removal of results from  local  search directories like  Yelp. Also it is expected to be having an affect only on Google US search queries. Since Pigeon update is comparatively new and only affect local search part, it’s still in the nascent stage to really understand the affect of this update. However it has been testified that, the pigeon update  affected few sectors like real estate and at the same time benefited sectors like education or hospitality.  Let’s try to dissect what Google Pigeon update affected.

Directories favored over local business listings

As mentioned above, after Pigeon update, search results from directories like Yelp or Tripadvisor made a comeback. This also mean that you should have a consistent citation across directories.

Change in local listing pack
The local listing pack or carousel had some changes post this update. It is reported that, the number of listings in the pack were reduced to three from earlier seven for some search queries. Also it is expected that the local listing pack itself was not shown for many search keywords. Another  change expected out of this update is reduction in duplicate results – i.e a website/business may not be shown in both organic search result and map pack at the same time.

Reduction in search radius
After the update, it is reported that Google has reduced the search radius while showing the local search results. This means the results for a search query will show listings much closer to the searcher’s location.

Brand v/s Local business
It is reported that in map listing and carousel, local business listings are shown comparatively on higher proportion when compared to brands for the same search queries. Also association between search keyword, brand name with domain have become positively correlated.

Long Tail keywords still the key
Optimizing for long tail keywords continue to show increased traffic. A combination of long tail keywords and targeted location specifics are now required. For example – 2BHK suite apartment in 13 Birds Road.

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