One of Google's most recent algorithm changes affecting local searches is entitled "The Pigeon Update." This update has dramatically enhanced search inquires for the keyword "Yelp." Google searches with the word "Yelp" included will now yield Yelp at the top of the page, instead of Google's official pages.
What Is The Pigeon Update?
The word Pigeon is derived from the bird who is known to carry letters and information to the target specified. There couldn't be a better name for this Google update because Google has made it clear that they want users to find what they are looking for. Pigeon has helped local search directories become more noticeable in the search results. The directories are no longer underneath Google+ websites.
Fixes Yelp Issues
Directory websites like Yelp were created to assist users in finding a local restaurant or business that they'd like to do business with. The problem they had with Google is that Google+ content was being displayed above the current Yelp site when a user specifically searched for Yelp in their search.
For example, if someone had searched for the specific terms "McDonald's Yelp," a Google+ website would arrive on top of Yelp's website for McDonald's. With the Pigeon Update, this is entirely fixed. Yelp's website now arrives on top of Google's when Yelp is used in the search inquiry.
The increased visibility for Yelp doesn't stop there. If there are sub-directories within that same Yelp page for the business, those are also listed ahead of Google's Google+ site. As long as Yelp is used as a keyword in the search bar, it will definitely be above Google's ranking page.
More Changes From The Pigeon Update
The changes for the directory Yelp have been the most significant in this recent Google update, but it doesn't stop there. Other directories such as blogs, newspapers and magazines have also benefited from Google's Pigeon. For example, if a user searches for Beverly Hills California Shopping Centers, they will usually get all of the local directory's results on the first few page results. The first two pages might be filled with directories from Yelp, a California newspaper or any local directory website that gives the user more information about local shopping centers. The Google+ website might not appear until page 3 or 4.
This is fantastic news for those directory websites, because they will be seeing more people come to them for information. For individual companies that have earned their way to the top of the results through hard SEO work, they might not be as excited. Again, this will vary by keyword and how many local directories are setup for that specific area. Basically, if a keyword is included along with a search inquiry, that website should appear at the top of the list. This was Google's plan from the start, to make everything equal between companies.
In the end, this new Pigeon update has made the folks over at Yelp and TripAdvisor very pleased because they have been working hard to get their search results to the top of Google's rankings when their keyword is included in a search. Businesses that haven't earned their way to the top, will start seeing their results on pages further down the pyramid. Google wants to reward those who have done hard work to get their page to the top of the list. They want to create a fair atmosphere for every website out there.