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Google Pigeon Update: Relevance, Impact and SEO Best Practices

Google Pigeon Update is a major algorithm change that Google introduced in 2014. It was designed to improve the quality and relevance of Google's local search results, especially for queries that have a local intent or a specific location. Pigeon enabled Google to use more ranking signals from its web search algorithm and to better calculate the distance and location of local businesses.

What is Google Pigeon Update and When Did It Take Off?

Google's Pigeon Update was implemented in July 2014 and announced one month later, in August 2014. It was one of the biggest local search algorithm changes ever, and it affected about 12% of all searches in the US. It was later rolled out to other countries, such as Canada, Australia, and the UK.

What Inspired Google to Launch Pigeon Update and What Does It Mean for SEOs?

Google rolled out Pigeon update to provide better answers to users' queries, especially those that are related to local businesses or services. Pigeon was also a response to the growing use of mobile devices and maps, which require more accurate and relevant local results.

Pigeon was not just an update, but a complete overhaul of Google's local search algorithm. It incorporated some existing features, such as Google My Business, reviews, and citations, but also added new ones, such as semantic search, knowledge graph, and entity recognition.

Pigeon aimed to make Google's local search engine more consistent with its web search engine, by using more ranking signals from its web algorithm and by aligning the local results with the organic results. It also aimed to make Google's local search engine more precise, by using better distance and location parameters and by showing more specific results based on the query.

How Pigeon Update Lifted or Dropped Websites and SEOs in the Past?

The impact of Google's Pigeon update varied depending on the site and the query. Some sites saw no change or even an increase in their traffic and rankings, while others saw a decrease or a loss of visibility.

The sites that benefited from Pigeon update were mostly those that had a strong organic presence and a high-quality local presence. These sites also used natural language and conversational tone in their content, and structured their pages with clear headings, subheadings, bullet points, and images.

The sites that suffered from Pigeon update were mostly those that had a weak organic presence or a low-quality local presence. These sites also relied heavily on keyword stuffing, exact match domains, or link schemes to rank for certain queries.

How SEOs Adapted to Pigeon Update: Best Practices and Pitfalls

The SEOs who were working on sites that benefited from Pigeon update had to keep up with their best practices and focus on creating user-friendly and engaging content. They also had to optimize their sites for mobile devices and voice search, and use schema markup and rich snippets to enhance their pages.

The SEOs who were working on sites that suffered from Pigeon update had to rethink their strategies and tactics. They had to remove any web spam techniques from their sites and focus on creating high-quality and relevant content. They also had to use natural language and semantic keywords in their content, and build natural and authoritative links.

How to Manage Pigeon Update and Rise in Local Search and SEO in 2023?

Google's Pigeon update is still relevant in 2023 for SEOs, as it shows that Google is constantly evolving its local search engine to provide better answers to users' queries. Local search is still an important trend in SEO, as more users are searching for local businesses or services online.

Therefore, SEOs need to be aware of Google's quality guidelines and avoid using any web spam techniques that could harm their sites or their clients' sites. They also need to create high-quality content that answers users' questions and provides value for their niche. They need to use natural language and semantic keywords in their content, and structure their pages with clear headings, subheadings, bullet points, images, videos, etc.

SEOs also need to optimize their sites for mobile devices and voice search, by using responsive design, fast loading speed, secure connection, etc. They need to use schema markup and rich snippets to enhance their pages with additional information, such as ratings, reviews, prices, availability, etc. They need to build natural and authoritative links from relevant sources that can boost their credibility and trustworthiness.

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