Google Release Newest Algorithm Change – Google Pigeon

Stephen McCance July 28, 2014

The most recent Google Algorithm update has been announced in the past few days, predominantly effecting local search results. Here we take a look at the impact of this latest change.

The newest Google algorithm has been released and this time the search giants have geared their latest change towards local search results. As Google have been typically reluctant to give the algorithm change a name, it has been nicknamed within the industry by search marketing news and resource website, Search Engine Land. Keeping in line with previous updates Penguin and Panda, they have dubbed this change with the name of another animal beginning with ‘p’ – pigeon.

As with all significant Google changes, the full extent of the impact of the pigeon update remains to be seen, but we do have some initial indications as to what may be affected. In particular, local directories and review websites seem to be gaining more visibility and traction in search results. This comes after Yelp made known their belief that Google was manipulating search results to prioritise their own content, even when search queries specifically included the term ‘Yelp’. Google were seen to be showing official websites with Google reviews and Google+ results ahead of the Yelp reviews, even in instances where the user was clearly looking for the Yelp website within their query.

Although Yelp have been one of the most talked about cases of being boosted, it isn’t the only local directory site that has been elevated in the rankings and benefitted from the pigeon update. These not only include other prominent sites such as TripAdvisor and OpenTable, but also more local listings, such as online listings in local newspapers and magazines.

The changes in the results at the moment do, however, look like they are pretty restricted to certain verticals, such as restaurants and hotels, with the official websites appearing in the search carousel and the organic listings now consisting mainly of review websites. It’s not known whether further iterations of the pigeon algorithm will widen this out to further verticals, although our educated guess from experience would be that we haven’t seen the last of the pigeon update just yet – watch this space.

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