google pigeon update

New Google Algorithm Update ‘Pigeon’ August 2014

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Google's latest update, Pigeon, looks to use locality as a factor in search rankings. This slide deck explores the ramifications of this on your rankings and business.


Page 1: Google Pigeon Update

New Google Algorithm Update


August 2014

Page 2: Google Pigeon Update

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Page 3: Google Pigeon Update

What is the pigeon update?

• Rolled out on 25 July


• Unofficially named

Pigeon to follow in the

line of ‘P’ updates.

• Concerns itself with

local search. It gives

weight to locality over


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Page 4: Google Pigeon Update

How does it work?

• Affects results in Google Web

and Maps searches.

• Local businesses and

individual stores will see a

change in ranking.

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• The image shows two search results with a before and


• After the pigeon update the results were on average

20 minutes closer (driving) than before.

• ‘Baskin Robbins’ (a large chain) had fallen out of the

results in favour of ‘Van Dyke Ice Cream’ (an

independent store with a strong G+ profile).

• When searches are carried out with the word ‘Yelp’ in

it, this result will rank above Google’s own local

listings. This is a new development.



Page 5: Google Pigeon Update

How does it work?• Semantic understanding is taken into account.

• The most obvious way Google can understand this

is through the use of location; “SEO Agency

London,” for example.

• Google also uses machine learning to decipher

whether your particular search should render local

results or not.

• To use the example in a previous slide, “ice

cream” is more likely to be a local search

whereas “buy books” is less likely.

• An improvement in location detection should make

the service better.

• Google’s Knowledge Graph, reviews, citations,

mentions and local directories will all factor into

which local results appear.

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Further Understanding

Page 7: Google Pigeon Update

Why the change?

• Google Maps search was often seen as trailing behind in terms of search capabilities, so bringing this up to date was long overdue.

• The continued and unabated growth of mobile usage means that more searches are taking place on mobile.

• Mobile search is growing, and search engines are having to adapt to accommodate shift in search patterns.

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Page 8: Google Pigeon Update

How will it affect SEO?

• Local businesses may notice a change in web referrals, leads

and business from the update.

• How drastic this will be is as yet unknown.

• More established, authoritative brands may struggle against

popular local stores.

• For example McDonald’s may be outranked for the term

“burger” if there is a particularly popular independent burger

restaurant nearby.

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Page 9: Google Pigeon Update

Next steps

• This is currently a US English-only update which we anticipate

coming to the UK very soon. This will give us a chance to assess

the effects of the update on US sites for feedback to clients.

• For some of our clients, shop fronts are very important, as such,

having a complete Google Places page as well as an active

Google+ page is integral.

• This way, Google can find you, searchers can find you and, if there

is a buzz around your Google+ page, you are more likely to rank

well for certain searches.

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Page 11: Google Pigeon Update





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