What Marketers Need to Know About Pigeon, Google’s Local Search Update


Google shakes up SERPs again this summer with what SearchEngineLand is calling the “Pigeon” update, a significant update to the local search algorithm.

In addition to improving physical location and ranking by proximity accuracy, Pigeon aims to seamlessly integrate more of Google’s general web search features, like the Knowledge Graph, within the local search algorithm.

Of course, marketers all want to know the “so what?” How big of a deal is the Pigeon algorithm update?

As Pigeon was first reported last Thursday, it’s still early to pinpoint the exact impact of the update, however, we do know it’s large enough to merit an official announcement to the media and has been updated for all U.S English results so far. Plus, if the Mozcast search feature report is any indication, there has been quite a fluctuation in local search listings since last week:


Source: Mozcast, Google SERP Feature Graph

If your business relies on any sort of physical brick and mortar location, whether it’s one or many, pay close attention to how this search algorithm update unfolds.

SEOs note the most clear-cut impact of Pigeon so far is the lift in rankings for local directory listings like Yelp, TripAdvistor, OpenTable, etc. Take advantage of this additional visibility. Make sure your locations have optimized profiles in the most relevant local directories for your business. That being said, it may become difficult for small businesses to rank their own domains above the high-ranking directory listings.

Marketers can also expect Pigeon to play a large role in the evolution of mobile SEO. As mobile search is inherently tied to location, this update stands to have a huge impact on mobile SERPs. With mobile surpassing PC usage for the first time this year, it’s no surprise Google is focused on mobile search improvement.

What do you think of Pigeon, so far? Have you noticed any significant changes in your own search rankings?

We’ll keep you posted as more updates roll through.