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Pigeon Findings 
Adam Dorfman, SIM Partners 
@phixed
Image: http://giphy.com/gifs/wxLLfzOyG6tyw @phixed
@phixed 
http://www.google.com/technology/pigeonrank.html
Image: http://giphy.com/gifs/wxLLfzOyG6tyw @phixed
@phixed 
Sample Size: 5,000 Location Pages 
Image: http://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/pigeons.jpg
@phixed 
Data Collection Timeline 
• Pre Pigeon: 7/11 - 7/23 
Image: http://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/pigeon...
@phixed 
Data Collection Timeline 
• Pre Pigeon: 7/11 - 7/23 
• Pigeon: 7/24 
Image: http://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.co...
@phixed 
Data Collection Timeline 
• Pre Pigeon: 7/11 - 7/23 
• Pigeon: 7/24 
• Post Pigeon: 7/25 - 8/7 
Image: http://nyo...
INTRODUCING 
Source: @phixed
@phixed 
P 
Image: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png
“The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help 
searchers find sites that provide a great user 
experience and fulfil...
@phixed 
Traffic 
-5.71%
@phixed 
Traffic 
-5.71% 
Conversions 
-5.97%
Image: http://www.reddit.com/r/reactiongifs/comments/1mz8qk/when_the_bank_clerk_tells_me_my_account_balance/ @phixed
What to Measure? 
Source: @phixed
1. Business Detail 
Source: @phixed
1. Business Detail 
2. Offsite Factor 
Source: @phixed
1. Business Detail 
2. Offsite Factor 
3. Onsite Factor 
Source: @phixed
Image: http://giphy.com/gifs/2GyM94FX0df9u @phixed
Image: http://fuckyeahreactions.tumblr.com/post/86789894859 @phixed
@phixed 
8% 
5% 
3% 
0% 
-3% 
-5% 
-8% 
Y Axis = Performance 
Change Post Pigeon 
X Axis = Metric Being 
Measured 
0 5
Here’s What We Weren’t Looking For 
Source: @phixed
@phixed 
Number of Words on a Location Page 
23% 
11% 
0% 
-11% 
-23% 
800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400 2600 28...
“Google said that this new algorithm improves their 
distance and location ranking parameters.” 
Barry Schwartz 
http://se...
Distance From City Center - All 
Small Markets Medium Markets Large Markets 
@phixed 
5% 
0% 
-5% 
-11% 
-16% 
0 5 10 15 2...
Distance from City Center - Population < 10,000 
@phixed 
RESULTS 
0% 
-4% 
-7% 
-11% 
-14% 
-18% 
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 4...
Distance from City Center - Population < 10,000 
@phixed 
RESULTS 
0% 
-4% 
-7% 
-11% 
-14% 
-18% 
More Single 
Packs, Les...
@phixed 
Distance from City Center - Population 10,001- 
100,000 
RESULTS 
5% 
3% 
0% 
-3% 
-5% 
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 ...
@phixed 
Distance from City Center - Population 10,001- 
100,000 
Narrowing of search radius 
RESULTS 
5% 
3% 
0% 
-3% 
-5...
@phixed 
Distance from City Center - Population > 
100,000 
RESULTS 
3% 
0% 
-3% 
-6% 
-9% 
-13% 
0 5 10 15 20 25
@phixed 
Distance from City Center - Population > 
100,000 
RESULTS 
3% 
0% 
-3% 
-6% 
-9% 
-13% 
Distance from centroid 
...
Image: http://www.reactiongifs.com/what-does-that-mean/ @phixed
@phixed 
Locations in small towns were hit hardest, possibly due to a 
decrease in local packs and/or a shift to 1 & 3 pac...
@phixed 
Locations in small towns were hit hardest, possibly due to a 
decrease in local packs and/or a shift to 1 & 3 pac...
@phixed 
Locations in small towns were hit hardest, possibly due to a 
decrease in local packs and/or a shift to 1 & 3 pac...
Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
“Thus far the big fix we are seeing to defeating 
spammy results in the local packs is to get links, 
which unfortunately ...
@phixed 
Moz External Equity 
26% 
0% 
-26% 
-53% 
-79% 
0.875 1.375 1.125 1.625 2.125 2.625 3.125 3.625 4.125 4.625 5.125...
@phixed 
Moz Page Authority 
26% 
13% 
0% 
-13% 
-26% 
36.5 38.5 40.5 42.5 44.5 46.5 48.5 50.5 52.5 54.5 56.5 58.5 60.5
Image: http://www.reactiongifs.com/what-does-that-mean/ @phixed
@phixed 
Page authority matters
@phixed 
Page authority matters 
Internal >>> External
@phixed 
Page authority matters 
Internal >>> External 
Domain strength is growing in importance
Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
“Don’t underestimate how powerful on-page 
optimization can be for local and local-organic 
results.” 
Adam Dorfman (Post ...
@phixed 
Number of Zip Codes Displayed 
12% 
8% 
4% 
0% 
-4% 
-8% 
1 2 3 4 5
@phixed 
Number of Areas Served 
8% 
4% 
0% 
-4% 
-8% 
-12% 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Image: http://www.reactiongifs.com/what-does-that-mean/ @phixed
@phixed 
On page optimization still matters
@phixed 
On page optimization still matters 
Over-optimization is being targeted
@phixed 
On page optimization still matters 
Over-optimization is being targeted 
Keep experimenting
Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
@phixed
@phixed 
Takeaways 
Pigeon update ≠ Improved SERPs
@phixed 
Takeaways 
Pigeon update ≠ Improved SERPs 
Where your business is still matters
@phixed 
Takeaways 
Pigeon update ≠ Improved SERPs 
Where your business is still matters 
Attach your business to strong d...
@phixed 
Takeaways 
Pigeon update ≠ Improved SERPs 
Where your business is still matters 
Attach your business to strong d...
Thank You! 
Adam Dorfman 
adorfman@simpartners.com 
www.simpartners.com 
@phixed
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Deconstructing Pigeon, Google’s New Local Search Algorithm - SMX East 2014 - Adam Dorfman

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Taking a sample set of 5,000 location pages, we dove deep into our data set to determine what factors actually mattered in Google's Pigeon algorithm update that occurred in June of 2014. Business data, offsite metrics like linkbuilding and onpage factors were all looked at.

Published in: Data & Analytics
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Deconstructing Pigeon, Google’s New Local Search Algorithm - SMX East 2014 - Adam Dorfman

  1. 1. Pigeon Findings Adam Dorfman, SIM Partners @phixed
  2. 2. Image: http://giphy.com/gifs/wxLLfzOyG6tyw @phixed
  3. 3. @phixed http://www.google.com/technology/pigeonrank.html
  4. 4. Image: http://giphy.com/gifs/wxLLfzOyG6tyw @phixed
  5. 5. @phixed Sample Size: 5,000 Location Pages Image: http://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/pigeons.jpg
  6. 6. @phixed Data Collection Timeline • Pre Pigeon: 7/11 - 7/23 Image: http://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/pigeons.jpg
  7. 7. @phixed Data Collection Timeline • Pre Pigeon: 7/11 - 7/23 • Pigeon: 7/24 Image: http://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/pigeons.jpg
  8. 8. @phixed Data Collection Timeline • Pre Pigeon: 7/11 - 7/23 • Pigeon: 7/24 • Post Pigeon: 7/25 - 8/7 Image: http://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/pigeons.jpg
  9. 9. INTRODUCING Source: @phixed
  10. 10. @phixed P Image: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png
  11. 11. “The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs. We also want the “good guys” making great sites for users, not just algorithms, to see their effort rewarded.” Matt Cutts http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2012/04/another-step-to-reward- high-quality.html Image: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
  12. 12. @phixed Traffic -5.71%
  13. 13. @phixed Traffic -5.71% Conversions -5.97%
  14. 14. Image: http://www.reddit.com/r/reactiongifs/comments/1mz8qk/when_the_bank_clerk_tells_me_my_account_balance/ @phixed
  15. 15. What to Measure? Source: @phixed
  16. 16. 1. Business Detail Source: @phixed
  17. 17. 1. Business Detail 2. Offsite Factor Source: @phixed
  18. 18. 1. Business Detail 2. Offsite Factor 3. Onsite Factor Source: @phixed
  19. 19. Image: http://giphy.com/gifs/2GyM94FX0df9u @phixed
  20. 20. Image: http://fuckyeahreactions.tumblr.com/post/86789894859 @phixed
  21. 21. @phixed 8% 5% 3% 0% -3% -5% -8% Y Axis = Performance Change Post Pigeon X Axis = Metric Being Measured 0 5
  22. 22. Here’s What We Weren’t Looking For Source: @phixed
  23. 23. @phixed Number of Words on a Location Page 23% 11% 0% -11% -23% 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400 2600 2800 3000
  24. 24. “Google said that this new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters.” Barry Schwartz http://searchengineland.com/google-makes-significant-changes-local-search- ranking-algorithm-197778 Image: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
  25. 25. Distance From City Center - All Small Markets Medium Markets Large Markets @phixed 5% 0% -5% -11% -16% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75
  26. 26. Distance from City Center - Population < 10,000 @phixed RESULTS 0% -4% -7% -11% -14% -18% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75
  27. 27. Distance from City Center - Population < 10,000 @phixed RESULTS 0% -4% -7% -11% -14% -18% More Single Packs, Less 7 Packs 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75
  28. 28. @phixed Distance from City Center - Population 10,001- 100,000 RESULTS 5% 3% 0% -3% -5% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75
  29. 29. @phixed Distance from City Center - Population 10,001- 100,000 Narrowing of search radius RESULTS 5% 3% 0% -3% -5% in suburban areas 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75
  30. 30. @phixed Distance from City Center - Population > 100,000 RESULTS 3% 0% -3% -6% -9% -13% 0 5 10 15 20 25
  31. 31. @phixed Distance from City Center - Population > 100,000 RESULTS 3% 0% -3% -6% -9% -13% Distance from centroid matters less in large markets… until it does 0 5 10 15 20 25
  32. 32. Image: http://www.reactiongifs.com/what-does-that-mean/ @phixed
  33. 33. @phixed Locations in small towns were hit hardest, possibly due to a decrease in local packs and/or a shift to 1 & 3 packs
  34. 34. @phixed Locations in small towns were hit hardest, possibly due to a decrease in local packs and/or a shift to 1 & 3 packs Google is pushing the urbanization of suburbs
  35. 35. @phixed Locations in small towns were hit hardest, possibly due to a decrease in local packs and/or a shift to 1 & 3 packs Google is pushing the urbanization of suburbs A slight preference for locations just outside of urban centers in large markets, but a sharp drop for any past 20 miles
  36. 36. Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
  37. 37. “Thus far the big fix we are seeing to defeating spammy results in the local packs is to get links, which unfortunately is going to lead to a whole new wave of local link SPAM, because it appears to be working, for the moment.” Andrew Shotland http://moz.com/blog/pigeon-advice-from-local-seos Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
  38. 38. @phixed Moz External Equity 26% 0% -26% -53% -79% 0.875 1.375 1.125 1.625 2.125 2.625 3.125 3.625 4.125 4.625 5.125 5.625
  39. 39. @phixed Moz Page Authority 26% 13% 0% -13% -26% 36.5 38.5 40.5 42.5 44.5 46.5 48.5 50.5 52.5 54.5 56.5 58.5 60.5
  40. 40. Image: http://www.reactiongifs.com/what-does-that-mean/ @phixed
  41. 41. @phixed Page authority matters
  42. 42. @phixed Page authority matters Internal >>> External
  43. 43. @phixed Page authority matters Internal >>> External Domain strength is growing in importance
  44. 44. Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
  45. 45. “Don’t underestimate how powerful on-page optimization can be for local and local-organic results.” Adam Dorfman (Post Venice Update to Current Day) Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
  46. 46. @phixed Number of Zip Codes Displayed 12% 8% 4% 0% -4% -8% 1 2 3 4 5
  47. 47. @phixed Number of Areas Served 8% 4% 0% -4% -8% -12% 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
  48. 48. Image: http://www.reactiongifs.com/what-does-that-mean/ @phixed
  49. 49. @phixed On page optimization still matters
  50. 50. @phixed On page optimization still matters Over-optimization is being targeted
  51. 51. @phixed On page optimization still matters Over-optimization is being targeted Keep experimenting
  52. 52. Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/peterubel/files/2013/01/pigeon.png @phixed
  53. 53. @phixed
  54. 54. @phixed Takeaways Pigeon update ≠ Improved SERPs
  55. 55. @phixed Takeaways Pigeon update ≠ Improved SERPs Where your business is still matters
  56. 56. @phixed Takeaways Pigeon update ≠ Improved SERPs Where your business is still matters Attach your business to strong domains
  57. 57. @phixed Takeaways Pigeon update ≠ Improved SERPs Where your business is still matters Attach your business to strong domains Don’t over optimize your website
  58. 58. Thank You! Adam Dorfman adorfman@simpartners.com www.simpartners.com @phixed

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