What You Need To Know About The Google Pigeon Update

Collective Measures
August 7, 2014
The Google Pigeon Update is Google's largest local search algorithm update since 2012's Venice. But will it affect your listings?


One of those didn’t belong…until Thursday, July 24, thanks to Google.

The Google Pigeon Update is comfortably labelled Google’s widest-reaching local algorithm update since 2012’s Venice Update. Impacting around 24% of all local (7-Pack) search results (according to Moz and Whitespark), the Pigeon Update aimed to improve results through two upgrades:

1. Incorporated organic algorithm ranking signals into the local algorithm. This includes traditional signals such as domain authority, backlinks, on-site keywords and content, and more.

2. Improved Google’s location-targeting parameters, to serve more relevant results based on a user’s physical location.

On paper, these are definite upgrades for users. Local search results have been known to reward local SEO activity over a more dormant site that is clearly of higher quality and value to users. However, in practice, Google Pigeon has brought out all of the pigeon poop puns.

Non-existent/broken business listings, One-Box results for non-branded searches, a complete lack of 7-Pack bubbles, and online-only companies masquerading as brick-and-mortar businesses are just a handful of issues local SEO experts have documented in the post-Pigeon world of local search.

Like any other algorithmic glitch, Google will undoubtedly fix most of these problematic search results. Also like any other algorithmic glitch, Google doesn’t have a public timeline for remediation. So sit back, relax, and check out a couple bad Pigeon-created search results we dredged up, then read a litany of expert opinions on Google Pigeon (links below):

You’ll laugh (or cry) when you see it…

Bad Google Pigeon Results

I wasn’t aware we had only one option in a city of over 300,000 people

Modern Furniture in Minneapolis

Seems legit.



Google Pigeon News & Reactions:

Google ‘Pigeon’ Updates Local Search Algorithm With Stronger Ties To Web Search Signal – By Barry Schwartz

Picking Through Google’s Pigeon Droppings… – By Andrew Shotland

Google Pigeon Poo – By Mike Blumenthal

Google Pigeon Collateral Damage & What You Can Do About It – By Linda Buquet

Share Blog Post

Related Insights

The Importance of a Measurement Strategy

The Importance of a Measurement Strategy

When considering analytics as a part of your marketing strategy, we tend to think of the technical side of things – the configuration of Google Analytics, the implementation of a tag management system, and so on. However, before beginning any of these implementations it is important to take a step back and first create a measurement strategy.

read more