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What is Google Pigeon? Definition, Purpose, and Its Impact

Last updated: Mar 16, 2024

What is Google Pigeon? Definition, Purpose, and Its Impact
Cover image: Illustration of Google Pigeon.

What Is Google Pigeon?

Google Pigeon is an update to Google's local search algorithm that was released in 2014.

In this update, Google implemented a ranking factor for local search. This makes local search results more relevant by looking at the user's location and distance.

In addition, this update also affected the appearance of local search results. You can see the difference in Google web search results and Google Maps after the implementation of the latest algorithm updates. 

It was released to improve the ranking quality of local listings in search results. As a result, you can find more relevant and specific information about businesses or services in the local area.

The Changes in Google Pigeon Update

Here are some changes from the Google Pigeon update that emphasize location and distance to improve the relevance of local search results.

1. Local Algorithm Optimization

Local algorithm optimization is more important than ever for local businesses due to Google's changing focus on local and traditional web algorithms.

With the closer connection between the two algorithms, as a business owner, you need to pay attention to the presence of strong organic web content to ensure that your business stands out and ranks higher in local search results.

Therefore, you need to implement some optimization measures such as creating relevant content with local keywords, updating business information, and enhancing backlinks and online reputation.


2. More Accurate Distance and Location Calculations

Google Pigeon's accuracy in calculating the distance and location of local businesses has also improved. 

At the same time, the Pigeon algorithm will narrow the search radius and prioritize businesses that are closest to the user's location. 

For example, when you search for the keyword "Best coffee in Malang", the local search results you receive are more focused on the area where you are located, rather than results from the entire city.

3. 7 Pack Local Results

At first, Google's local search results often displayed "7 pack local results", which is a collection of seven local businesses that appear when users search for local keywords.

However, the release of the Pigeon algorithm resulted in a change in the layout of local search results that led to the replacement of 7 pack local results with three local business views.

The reduction of local search results affects the way local businesses interact with potential customers online.

So, business owners need to pay more attention to local SEO optimization-based marketing strategies to get ranked in SERPs.


4. Increase in Spam Listings

The increase in spam listings that appeared due to the algorithm update also highlights the challenges of maintaining the local business listing purity. 

You will see a temporary increase in the number of spam entries in local search results. This shows a weakness in Google's local algorithm that is not yet able to distinguish between true businesses and keyword manipulation to improve rankings. 

The situation may confuse users. Therefore, you must report violations of Google's guidelines so that your local business environment remains safe, fair, and relevant.

The Impact of Google Pigeon on the Web

The impact of Google Pigeon on websites is significant, especially for local business owners. Not only does it set new standards in terms of relevance, but it also presents unique challenges in ranking well in local search results.

One of the main challenges is factors that businesses cannot fully control, such as the radius of the searcher's location.

However, some strategies can be implemented to achieve success in improving rankings in Google search results. Here are the details:

  • Emphasize local organic content such as relevant links, quality web content, and domain improvements that support organic and local rankings. 
  • Focus on hyperlocal content such as text, videos, and images related to the local area.
  • Apply the basic principles of local SEO to compete by paying attention to the accuracy and scope of citations, removing duplicate listings, and getting good reviews.
  • Report spam if Google fails to police its local results.


The Example of Google Pigeon Implementation

To enhance your understanding, here is an example of the implementation of Google Pigeon in everyday life.

For example, when you search for nearby restaurants or cafes, the algorithm will work to display the most relevant and closest results to the search location.

For example, when you search for "Best spicy fried rice near me", the algorithm will customize the search results by highlighting spicy fried rice sellers with the closest location radius to your location.

Therefore, you can find food according to your preferences without having to take a long distance or wait for a long time.

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