Pigeon Update Rolled Out Beyond USA?

Pigeon Update Rolled Out Beyond USA?

Is Google Pigeon being rolled out to Canada, UK and beyond?

The Google Pigeon update first launched in July 2014 for US English results, but up until now it has yet to affect search results outside of the USA.

During a number of tests over last 24hrs we have noticed significant volatility in Maps results in the UK, Canada & Australia.

It appears that the maps radius has tightened for local searches – which is a key marker of the Pigeon update.

Also, in a comparison of results between ‘Old’ Maps vs ‘ New’ Maps the ordering of results is very different which is a further indicator of change. In the US ‘Old’ maps has not had Pigeon applied to it and so Old maps rankings are significantly different from ‘New’ maps.

Here are 2 sets of UK results for you to compare –

3-4 other sharp eyed SEOs spotted this today and the debate is actively happening on Google+

While we can’t be sure that Pigeon is definitely rolling out beyond the US, something significant is happening to local results and it all smells distinctly ‘Pigeon’ to me!

More information to follow as we track this issue.

What is the Pigeon Update?

Pigeon was originally rolled out with the intention to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results, which are also more closely linked to traditional SEO ranking signals. Google stated that the algorithm update improves their distance and location ranking parameters. The core changes went on behind the scenes but id did impact local search results. The main change being the reduction of local pack results in SERPS. Search queries that previously returned 7 pack results were now displaying 3 – or had disappeared altogether.

What is the impact of Pigeon Update?

Local rankings in the UK & beyond are now likely to be now more determined by DA, backlinks and other more traditional SEO rankings factors. Reduced pack results may mean that many local businesses which previously enjoyed good local rankings may see their presence falter.

In the recent InsideLocal webinar we were joined by Mike Bluenthal, Andrew Shotland & Joy Hawkins to discuss the a The impact of Pigeon update. You can view the whole webinar here. We conducted a series of polls throughout the webinar to our audience of Local SEOs & discovered the following:

  • 58% Of Local Marketers Will Change Tactics After Pigeon Update
  • 69% believe that Pigeon has delivered good change for searchers / 53% believe that Pigeon is bad for businesses
  • 58% have changed or plan to change their search strategy due to Pigeon update / 33% won’t change their search strategy

You can view the full results of these polls over at Search Engine Land.

Barry Shwartz of Search Engine Land first called the previously ‘un-named’ algorithm update Pigeon, which has stuck ever since.

Ross Marchant
About the author
Ross is the former Marketing Manager for BrightLocal. With 9+ years SEO and content experience, Ross spearheaded the marketing and CRM initiatives which focus heavily on creating useful and informative content. Ross coordinated the research program at BrightLocal which delivers unique insights into both the SEO industry and local consumer behaviours.