Google Pigeon Update Definition:

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Google Pigeon is an algorithm update released by Google in July 2014. This update aimed to provide more accurate, relevant, and useful local search results that are closely tied to traditional web search ranking signals.

In 2014, Google introduced the Pigeon update, which notably transformed local search. Firstly, it aimed for enhanced accuracy and relevance in local search results. Furthermore, its primary ambition was to provide users with more precise, pertinent, and practical local search outcomes. Subsequently, Pigeon intricately linked local search outcomes with traditional web search ranking indicators. As a result, it bridged a seamless connection between local and broad search. Consequently, this guide delves deeply into the nuances of Google Pigeon and its significant ripple effect on local SEO.

The Impact of Google Pigeon

Enhancing Local Search Results: Google Pigeon was designed to enhance the user experience by providing highly relevant and accurate local search results.
Boosting Local Businesses: Pigeon update gave a significant boost to local businesses, as local search began to favor local businesses in its results.
Integrating Local and Traditional Search: With Pigeon, Google managed to integrate local and traditional search, considering a website’s overall SEO when determining local search rankings.

Adapting to Google Pigeon

Understanding Google Pigeon is crucial for businesses seeking to succeed in local SEO. To optimize your website for Google Pigeon:

  1. Optimize Your Google My Business Page:
    • Verify your business listing.
    • Use accurate business information including the name, address, and phone number (NAP).
    • Choose the correct categories for your business.
    • Include quality, high-resolution images.
    • Encourage and respond to customer reviews.
  2. Improve On-Site SEO:
    • Optimize the title tags with local keywords.
    • Use meta descriptions that include local keywords.
    • Include your location in the website’s header or footer.
    • Use schema markup for local businesses.
  3. Focus on Local Link Building:
    • Build relationships with other local businesses.
    • Participate in community events and seek sponsorship opportunities.
    • Write guest posts for local blogs.
  4. Encourage Customer Reviews:
    • Request reviews from satisfied customers.
    • Respond to both positive and negative reviews.
    • Use reviews on your website if possible.
  5. Create High-Quality Content:
    • Write blog posts about local news, events, or activities.
    • Offer local guides or resources.
    • Keep content fresh and regularly updated.
  6. Optimize for Mobile Users:
    • Use a responsive design that works well on various devices.
    • Test your site’s loading speed.
    • Provide an easy navigation experience for mobile users.
  7. Ensure NAP Consistency Across the Web:
    • Check that your business’s name, address, and phone number are consistent across various online platforms.
    • Use tools to manage and monitor your local citations.
  8. Use Social Media Effectively:
    • Engage with local customers on social platforms.
    • Share content related to local interests.
    • Run targeted ad campaigns for the local audience.
  9. Monitor and Analyze Performance:
    • Use tools like Google Analytics to track local traffic.
    • Monitor rankings for local keywords.
    • Adjust strategies based on performance and trends.
  10. Understand and Comply with Local Regulations:
    • Ensure that your business complies with local laws and regulations.
    • Maintain proper licensing and certification if applicable.

Criticisms and Challenges

  1. Immediate Fluctuations in Local Rankings: After the Pigeon update, many businesses saw their local rankings fluctuate, causing uncertainty and confusion.
  2. Decrease in Local Pack Results: The update reduced the number of local pack results from seven to three, making it more competitive for businesses to appear in these top spots.
  3. Yelp and Other Directories Benefitted: Some critics pointed out that the update seemed to favor large directories like Yelp, sometimes even over the businesses’ own websites.
  4. Lack of Transparency: As with other Google Algorithm Updates, the exact workings of the Pigeon algorithm weren’t disclosed, making it challenging for businesses to adapt.
  5. Overemphasis on Proximity: Some businesses outside city limits but serving those cities reported significant drops in visibility, indicating a possible overemphasis on geographic proximity.
  6. No Clear Recovery Path: Businesses that lost their ranking due to Pigeon often had difficulty identifying a clear path to recovery.
  7. Sudden Decrease in Business: Businesses that relied heavily on local search visibility may have seen a sudden decrease in customers if their online visibility was impacted by the Pigeon update.
  8. Unpredictable Impact: The effects of the Pigeon update could be hard to predict, and some businesses might have experienced ranking drops or fluctuations without a clear understanding of why.
  9. Relevance Issues: There were reports of irrelevant businesses showing up in local results after the Pigeon update.
  10. Challenges for Small Businesses: Small businesses, especially those with limited resources to adapt to the new requirements or those relying heavily on their local online presence, faced significant challenges.

Google Pigeon Update QUOTE:

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"Google Pigeon brought the local business front and center in search, revolutionizing the way users find businesses in their area." - Unknown
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Article By: Nathan Ergang


Nathan Ergang, the web developer behind, he has over a decade of WordPress and online marketing expertise. His venture into the expansive universe of web development started in 2012, though his passion for personal projects took root much earlier. A practitioner of multiple web languages such as PHP, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, and Python, Nathan has also deep-dived into SEO and possesses a keen eye for graphic design. Green Marketing, a venture close to Nathan's heart, stands testament to his entrepreneurial drive and commitment. Outside the digital domain, Nathan savors life's simpler pleasures. He cherishes traveling, often venturing off the beaten path, and has a knack for capturing the essence of a moment through photography and videography.

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