19 August 2014

Google Pigeon Update- All You Want to Know


Recently news flashed over the Internet that Google has introduced changes to its local search engine algorithm, which is named as “Google Pigeon Update” by Search Engine Land. With this update, we still do not know who will instantly get affected but the local businesses are sure to face an increase or decrease in their website traffic and referrals.  The Google Pigeon update is launched for enhancing the distances and local parameters to make the local search results more accurate for the users.

While every search engine algorithm update of Google goes in favor for the Internet users but the online businesses have to suffer to an extent. This time the update is concerned with only local search algorithm. Hence, the local businesses have to gain an in-depth understanding of this new update for making their website ranking improved over Google and other popular search engines. So what exactly does this Google Pigeon update is all about and how does it impact the local businesses? Although, this update is currently being used within US for English language queries, but businesses based in other countries have to be prepared to implement this successfully for their better outcomes.

What Does Google Pigeon is All About?

This “Birdy” update of Google is devised to combine the local search engine algorithm profoundly within the main search engine algorithm that utilizes various rankings signals. It incorporates different search capabilities like synonyms, spelling corrections, and the Knowledge graph. This new updated local search engine algorithm of Google also encompasses few other factors related with local search such as the location ranking and distance factors for local businesses. This new Pigeon update is aimed to offer an enhanced experience to the internet users for local results.

Evaluating Google Pigeon Update

Unveiled on July 24, this new local search engine algorithm update of Google has not unturned anything significant about the bundle of new changes accompanied with it. However, for the local businesses it seems to be very important and fortunate as local directories are specifically receiving loads of advantages due to this change.

The Google Pigeon algorithm update is successfully labeled as Google’s wide spread local algorithm update since 2012 Venice update. According to the reports of Moz and Whitespark, this new update is influencing around 24% of all local (7-pack) search results because it is endeavored to enhance the local searches through two important upgrades listed as follows:

  • It has encompassed the organic algorithm ranking signals within the local algorithm which comprises traditional signals like back links, domain authority, on site keywords, contents and more.
  • It has enhanced the local targeting parameters of Google to offer more genuine results based on a user’s search location.

These upgrades are definite on paper for the users but local search results are known to reward the local Search Engine Optimization techniques over a dormant website, which clearly offers high quality services to the users.

How Google Pigeon Update Impacts the local Businesses?

Earlier when we search for something local, we usually got the carousel results followed by a list of organic results (local listings) also known as 7-packs search results. These types of local listing are often given importance when people are looking for phrases with a local intent. For example, here you can view the 7-pack local listings when searching for “Restaurants in Manchester”.


While the new Google Pigeon update algorithm is moving the local listings into the carousel, it also indicates that the websites will definitely get a boost in their traffic. Since all the local listing have moved into the carousel as per this new local search algorithm update, other directory style websites are displaying higher up the page and better visibility eventually leads to better traffic and leads to the websites thus increasing the opportunities for enhanced conversion rates. For example, you can see a screenshot from US displaying local businesses listings within the top carousel. While other directory style websites are listed within the main results.



It seems that as long as you put the correct measures in place, your website will always receive better traffic rates due this new Google Pigeon update. Some large directory style website listings are also getting 5-10% increase in their organic traffic through this update.

Apart from this, other reputed web directories such as Yelp and Yell will probably get benefitted due to this update because they have exceptionally strong brand values which help them n getting better results through effective Search Engine Optimization techniques.

What to Do the Next?

If you want to put the Google Pigeon Update into perspective and also want to lay out an apparent plan of action, you must be aware of various things that have to be considered while implementing this new update. While this update is currently released for US and not for UK and others, it is better to stay ahead of this game to get winning results in the imminent days.

Create listings for Reputed Business Directories

The first step towards its implementation is to complete your listing on reputed business directories. It is important to stress on “reputed” business directories because these are completely different from the nasty and cheap SEO directories, which impact negatively on your search engine rankings.


Besides these popular generic web directories, there are some industry specific web directories that are worth being listed. Therefore, you must perform an extensive research work for getting higher traffic and conversion rates to your website.

It means that if any user does not click on your website over the carousel, then there are greater chances that your website will be displayed in one the top listed directories. Hence, by covering both the angles, you will maximize your chances of getting better traffic.

Ensure Google identifies your business via Google My Business

Have you previously heard about Google My Business? If not, I will tell you. It has recently replaced the old listing tools, Google Local and Google Places. Hence, it is very important to ensure that you local business is listed on Google My Business no matter if you own a single outlet/shop/store/restaurant or office. Make sure that all your physical locations are listed on Google My Business.


If you have listed the physical location of your business using Google My Business listing tool, then your website will be privileged to get more traffic and leads.

What It Means to You?

You must keep this in mind that the aim of Google Pigeon algorithm update is to combine the local results with the standard Web ranking signals. If your website has strong and solid SEO signals, then you are going to prevail in the carousel of this new update. Directories will eventually outrank the individual businesses in this update, hence you have to work hard to get your website perform better after the arrival of this new Google Pigeon update. We aren’t aware when Google will roll out this update to other parts than US, but it is better to remain prepared to save the local queries from being impacted.


By Amit Kothiyal

Google Analytics & E-Commerce Analytics certified, Amit Kothiyal has 9+ years of experience in digital marketing. Currently, he is working in a stellar digital marketing company TIS India Business Consultants Pvt Ltd. He has helped numerous brands establish their online niche with his out of the box internet marketing strategies and lead generation capabilities. He is proactive on LinkedIn and Twitter to share his experiences with similar kind of professionals across the globe.

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