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The effects of Google Pigeon update

In July 2014, Google revamped its local search algorithm, which was named Google Pigeon. This algorithm brought in a significant change in the way local search queries for Google Search and Google Maps was ranked. The local search results are now more useful, accurate and relevant. Additionally, the algorithms change has made location and distance ranking parameters better.

In other words, the Pigeon update is aimed towards making local search results very similar to traditional organic rankings. With this change, some local firms may notice better or worse referrals from websites, leads and business. The new update digs deeper into web search capabilities along with other search features such as spelling correction, Knowledge Graph, synonyms and many more.

With the exception of India, this update has now changed Google search engines in all countries using Google in the English language.

This lead to a tremendus fluctuation in the SERPs, but as a proliferent SEO Agency, we have to inform you of this.

Which niches reaped some benefits from the Google Pigeon Update?

While some complained after the release of the algorithm update, some reaped its benefits. Here are a few industries that benefitted with the Pigeon update:

  • Hospitality industry experienced a 28% growth in results using Google Places
  • Food industry experienced a 19% growth in results using Google Places
  • Education industry experienced a 13% growth in results using Google Places

The following queries saw additional wins:

  • Fitness – increase by 1.12%
  • Transportation – increase by 1.31%
  • Medical – increase by 1.83%
  • Law – increase by 3.55%
  • Shop – increase by 4.32%
  • Spa – increase by 4.64%

The following queries were negatively impacted by the Pigeon update:

  • Insurance – 11% less in Google Places
  • Movies – 36% less in Google Places
  • Real estate – 63% less in Google Places
  • Jobs – 68% less in Google Places

Somewhat negligible losses were experienced for the following queries:

  • Government – decrease by 0.07%
  • Furniture – decrease by 3.34%
  • Finance – decrease by 6.21%

Future of the Pigeon Update

google-pigeon-update

Are the above results going to continue in similar trends in the future? If your website is currently under the Pigeon update, you will probably agree that the algorithm is still unsettled within its new home. Many websites have stated that they are experiencing constant fluctuation in their rankings and there were some statistics that suggested Google may be testing two or three different versions of the Pigeon update. As we wait and watch what changes the algorithm will bring about, do not panic. Instead, focus on methods of local search that have brought you positive results.

  • One thing we are sure of is that Google’s pigeon update focuses more on localized search results and has improved distance and location parameters. This is indeed true because reports have shown search results being displayed within a very small radius. Therefore, companies should probably focus their thinking more locally and make sure the local SEO strategy includes neighbourhood indicators.
  • Optimize your website’s visibility in local ‘carousel’ results of Google’s search engine.
  • Continue performing old fashioned practices of SEO:
    • Listing your website on Googly My Business
    • Being included on directories, especially now that directory listings have seen a boost
    • Your content strategy should be local-focused and highly valuable
    • Make use of traditional SEO tactics
    • Ensure an active presence on social media

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