On July 24, 2014, Google pushed out a major local search algorithm update. The new algorithm provides relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. The changes impacts both the organic local listings within the Google Maps search results and Google Web search results.
Google says Search Engine Land “there was no internal name for the update, but now that we see that it was fairly significant, we decided to give it a name: Pigeon.” Since this update was nameless at Google, so Search Engine Land called it the Pigeon update.
The new local search algorithm is more tied into the traditional web search capabilities, including search features from the knowledge graph, spelling corrections, synonyms and more. Google also said there were relevancy improvements to distance and location ranking.
Here I listed some of the significant things from this search algorithm update (Pigeon).
1. Local directory sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, Zagat, TripAdvisor, and others are getting better visibility in Google’s search results. Particularly, it looks like Google has fixed its “Yelp problem” and is now showing Yelp pages at the top of search results when queries specifically include the word “Yelp.”
2. Barry Schwartz reported on Search Engine Roundtable comparing a search result for [ice cream] from earlier this week to today, clearly showing the results are even different with that query.
Earlier this week:
3. Mike Blumenthal reports 7-local listing packs are disappeared; almost all real estate related searches had disappeared, while SEO and web design local packs are back after being dropped in 2009.
4. The update has rolled out only for US English results, and Google has no idea when and if it will roll out for other languages or countries. But Google did not say the percentage of queries impacted by this change.