In their ongoing quest for the best most relevant search experience for users, Google recently launched a new and relevant update tied closely to local search. As happens on occasion, Google decided not to name their updated algorithm. Industry leader, Searchengineland.com seized upon the moment and decided to name the new update “Pigeon” and their reasoning “because this is a local search update and pigeons tend to fly back home.” The name makes sense. Let’s take a closer look at what has developed.
What is the Google “Pigeon” Algorithm Update?
At the onset, Google rolled out the new update for U.S. English results but did not provide details about a rollout schedule to other countries. According to SEO expert Barry Schwartz , the launch would bring the following:
- Google’s new algorithm “ties deeper into their web search capabilities”
- Pigeon takes into consideration the “hundreds of ranking signals used for web search”
- Pigeon ties into search features such as “Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more”
- Changes should be visible within the search results for both Google Maps and Google Web search
How has Google “Pigeon” Impacted Local Business?
In a stellar effort by Jim Yu of SearchEngineWatch.com “How Google Pigeon Impacted Local Queries, and What You Can Do” we begin to see the early returns on how Google “Pigeon” has impacted and begun to change the local search landscape.
Search Queries Benefiting From Google “Pigeon”
Whenever an update begins to change the search landscape, there will always be winners and losers in search ranking. In his analysis of the winners and losers, Yu used a “massive data set” from BrightEdge covering June through August 2014. This information showcased a rise in search queries related to the following terms:
- 28% growth for “Hospitality” in Google Places results
- 19% growth for “Food” in the Google Places results
- 13% growth for “Education” in the Google Places results
- 4.64% growth for “Spa”
- 4.32% growth for “Shop”
- 3.55% growth for “Law”
- 1.83% growth for “Medical”
- 1.31% growth for “Transportation”
- 1.12% growth for “Fitness”
Search Queries Negatively Impacted by Google “Pigeon”
On the opposite side of the ledger, many businesses were greatly affected by the new algorithm. The following highlights the negative decline:
- 68% decline for “Jobs” in the Google Places results
- 63% decline for “Real Estate” in the Google Places results
- 36% decline for “Movies” in the Google Places results
- 11% decline for “Insurance” in the Google Places results
As Pigeon continues to evolve, it appears that Google wants businesses to think local and adjust their search engine optimization strategies to reflect this new emphasis. The end result for search will be a more geographically niched SERPs that should provide far more targeted and relevant information.