11 Things You Must Know About Google Pigeon

Local search has always been vital for businesses. But results in local search were not so closed to traditional search rankings before, than they now have been. Thanks to Google’s local algorithm, Pigeon, local searches have reached new level of accuracy and specificity.  Here’s everything you wanted to know about this new release

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1. Google’s New Algorithm

According to Barry Shwatz, Google launched a new local search algorithm on 24th July 2014 which was named “Pigeon”. Although, it wasn’t officially confirmed by the authorities in Google, yet it was updated on 1st August 2014.

2. Pigeon Offers Cohesiveness

You must have experienced in past, searching Google Maps gave different results from Google searches. With the rollout of new algorithm, map search and map search appear to be cohesive.

3. Local Results Are More Closely Tied To Traditional Web Ranking Signals

The algorithm ties local search engine results with standard web search engine results more closely. According to Volume Nine, both search results are more or less similar.

4. Yelp-Specific Queries Are Accurate Now

In the mid of 2014, Yelp criticized Google for showing its own reviews ahead of Yelp’s. This accusation appeared to be more convincing when searchers specifically entered “Yelp” queries in search bars and found out Google’s on top instead. The launch of Pigeon has rectified this problem.

5. Local Directories’ Visibility Boosted

Other sites like OpenTable, Zagat, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon etc. now have better visibility. These queries may be generic as the algorithm has displayed focus on directory listings. The algorithm seems to take into account the reviews and review sites where information relevant to a business is more accurate and unbiased.

6. Pigeon is the Biggest Local Search Release By Google

While Local Pack, One-box and Carousel exists as most prominent ones, Mozcast’s pointed out a major fluctuation soon after Pigeon’s release. Soon, it became Google’s number 1 update ever.

7. Ranking Parameters Based on Distance & Location Have Improved

Google looked quite positive about improvement in distance & local ranking parameters, even though the nature of these parameters has not been clarified. However, it’s believed that dense neighborhood (A.K.A – informal space) will be affected by increased specificity.

Before the release of Pigeon, it was difficult too difficult parse dense spaces. Following features are important in making this algorithm local search specific. Following features indicate that your SEO Canada efforts must be in-depth and location based.

  • The algorithm is expected to provide better results for search queries by considering both, conventional and colloquial term used for the same space.
  • Local businesses with keywords and citations relevant to neighborhood will rank in SERPs

8. Local Results Changed Dramatically

The release of Pigeon brought some interesting results for local businesses. Most of those with poor ranking saw improvement and many local businesses literally disappeared from search results.

This brought a long debate among the internet users but it didn’t conclude in any better way than this: “Algorithms are meant to change, and you have to change according to them”

9. Some Business Lost Rankings

With Pigeon’s release, following business have been affected the most.

  • DUI lawyer
  • Mold removal
  • DUI attorney
  • Real estate or realtors
  • Emergency plumber
  • And any business starting with the word “commercial”

10. Drop in Local Packs

With these relatively small scale changes, a drop in local packs has been the major outcome of Pigeon. According to Mozcast, the drop reached 60%.

11. Spams Topped Search Results

Soon after the launch of new algorithm, it was reported that spams appeared at the top of search engine pages. But, it’s understandable as the algorithm wasn’t meant to target spam, some bugs must have crept in showing unexpected results. The issue is now under control.


While it may not have been for those international business networks, the release of Google’s new algorithm is considered to be a great moral booster for all kinds of local businesses with previously bad ranking. Regardless of the impact made by new algorithm, businesses and SEO services need to overhaul their local optimization strategies.

Steffy Alen

Steffy Alen