Pigeon was actually first presented and named by Search Engine Land, since this is about local search and according to them pigeons tend to fly back home.

Recently, the digital marketing world went abuzz when spikes in their local searches changed dramatically. Although Google didn’t announce a name for its update, Search Engine Land did it for them: the Pigeon. As with other algorithm updates before it – the Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird – this improvement is either loved or hated by Webmasters.

So what does it mean for online users?

What Is the Pigeon?

It’s Google’s latest algorithm update meant to offer more relevant and helpful local search results. The search engine giant didn’t dish out exact details; but the impact is too huge not to notice. Those who are greatly affected are local businesses – especially in directories like Yelp.

This new algorithm is closely tied with Google’s many ranking signals whenever a user performs a search or query. It also takes the Knowledge Graph, spelling, synonyms, and more into account. To date, it’s still uncertain whether this same algorithm will be seen across the world. For now, US English results are the ones enjoying the changes.

Love It or Hate It

Hurray for local businesses and those that have been promoting their companies in general directories! Before, a user would see Google’s own listings on top of search results. Now, they made sure to put localized firms first; along with reviews and locations on Google map. This means more visibility for those working hard on their organic search strategies.

For those who suddenly went off the list, Google advises to check your content and links. Content should be fresh, unique, and helpful to online users. For any spammy links, do disavow them as soon as possible. Just keep a close eye on client sites to make sure they are benefiting from this recent change.

What It Means For Businesses

If you’re an individual business trying to get your share of the market for years, this might be your big break. With Google’s Pigeon update, you could see your restaurant or hotel in the number one spot (provided you did proper web marketing techniques and SEO). If you haven’t listed your company in the local directory yet, then maybe you should.

Simple searches like ‘Chicago pizza’ and ‘ice cream’ are showing real results from businesses near the user’s location. This is really smart search made more relevant. Search Engine Land reports that even small, unfamiliar directories are being shown on the organic search results. That, along with big names such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Urbanspoon.

Although this means better visibility for small to medium businesses, don’t ignore your SEO strategies just yet. Remember: this update is tied with standard web ranking signals. So if your digital marketing efforts are not enough, you might still not show up on Google’s first pages. If you haven’t been one to benefit from this new modification, then perhaps you should step up your SEO game.

The good thing is that Google is always trying to find better ways to make search results user-friendly. Although those of us in the web marketing industry find this a tad annoying – in some areas – it has its advantages in the long run.

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