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by Beth Jackson
on November 11, 2014

About once a year, Google gets out their toolkit and updates their search algorithm. This algorithm, if you don’t know, is the technology behind Google’s search engine. It is what provides relevant search results to users based on their search query. Google updates this algorithm frequently to combat black-hat SEO tactics, and to make sure that website owners can’t manipulate the system. In their most recent update, nicknamed Pigeon, Google focused a lot more effort on providing relevant search results for local businesses. Today we’re going to take a deeper look at the September/October 2014 Google Pigeon 3.0 update.

The Focus On Local

The primary focus for this algorithm update was on providing a deeper integration between Google Maps and Google Search when it comes to providing local search results. The goal according to Google, was to help incorporate local search signals into their search engine ranking system. They also have used that same information to help improve their Knowledge Graph, which is what provides the instantaneous information on the left side of the Google search page.

This means that more local businesses will get incorporated into that Knowledge Graph, which means more instant information for the searcher.


While Panda updates target content, Pigeon update target backlinks. If you have been cleaning up your backlink structure from the last update (that happened over 8 months ago), then this new update may be your saving grace. However, if you have been using spammy backlink structures and buying links, this update may just have deranked your site out of the results.


The update also focused on honing their distance and location ranking parameters, which are used to ensure that the results that are displayed to a user are the ones most relevant to their search and their location.

That means that when you search for “Ice Cream Shop” you’ll be more likely to get results that are near you instead of ones that are located across the country.

What It Means for Marketers

For marketers, this is a fairly uneventful update, at least when compared to previous updates. However, if you’re marketing a local business, it can have a huge impact on the way you do business. It makes it even more important that your business ties into everything Google. Namely, we’re talking about making sure your business has filled out the Google Places information, and has accurate location data tied to it. That information will make it more likely that this new Google update will provide accurate information when someone searches for your business.

You should take advantage of the tools that Google offers when it comes to Google Maps. You can make sure your business is inputted as a point of interest, and because this update focuses on brining that data closer to Google search, your business is more likely to show up in search results for local searchers.

Never build links -- work on gaining authority links and creating an online presence that will deliver links to you. This has remained true for many years now and through each Google update. Work for the future, so your website will never have to suffer through any Google penalty or restriction.