Google’s Pigeon Update – Will it affect Local Searches?


Last week, Google released “Pigeon Update”, reported as the largest local search algorithm. Currently, Google has rolled out the update to U.S. English based search results. After initial analysis, it is quite clear that recent pigeon update focuses on increasing the visibility of local directory sites. The new algorithm is expected to change the positions of local listings appear in Google Map Results and Google Web Search Results.

 Google has also sorted out “Yelp Issue”. Now, Yelp listings are appearing at the top of the organic search results for queries including the word “Yelp”. When the Pigeon update was released last week, there were also discussions regarding the name of the update. Finally, Google confirmed it as Pigeon update because Pigeon has a natural tendency to fly back home.

 As the ratio of internet users performing local searches is increasing drastically, Google is focusing more on its new algorithm to provide more accurate and relevant local search results based on user’s search query.

Google states that the new algorithm will take account of various ranking signals that are used in web search and search features such as Knowledge graph. It is also expected that Google Pigeon update will improve the location ranking parameters. As webmasters and SEOs are providing different insights on Google’s Pigeon every day, we need to wait for a few weeks to get a conclusive result on Pigeon’s local search impact.

To get a clear picture on what impact the recent algorithm has made on local search traffic, we have analyzed a few local clients’ traffic reports below:

Case 1:

Below screenshot portrays that there is still fluctuation in overall traffic as referral traffic from local directories are varying. This is due to Google’s Pigeon update which focuses on increasing the visibility of local directories based on various ranking signals.

Case 2:

We are able to see significant traffic improvements in the below screenshot which clearly states that Google’s new local search algorithm has increased the visibility of local directories. As a result, referral traffic has increased considerably.

Case 3:

Below traffic screenshot shows drastic traffic drop due to decrease in referral traffic from local directories. Google’s recent update takes account of various ranking signals including location targeting parameters, NAP consistency and other factors to determine the visibility of local listings.

As webmasters & SEOs are providing new insights on Google’s Pigeon update every day, I will keep you updated with the latest news regarding Google’s new local search algorithm. On the other hand, I will also be executing my own research to get a conclusive result on the impact of Google’s Pigeon update. So, stay tuned for more updates……