By 10th November, 2019 SEO No Comments

Google’s Latest Local Algorithm Update

The local SEO community has been in a buzz, questioning their listings’ decrease in rankings last week. There were constant discussions between local SEOs about a possible Google update, specifically focusing on Google Maps rankings. Talks in the local SEO community reached a general consensus that Google My Business (GMB) listings were undergoing drops. A thread on Search Engine Roundtable pretty much gave a good scope on the problem:

With everyone comparing notes in the local SEO community, it was quite obvious that Google has rolled out its biggest local algorithm update since 2016, Possum. [1] Google’s latest local algorithm update has been dubbed Bedlam by Joy Hawkins, or Possum 2.0.

 A Vital Local Rank Signal

On September 21, 2016, Google’s Possum update (the name coined by local SEO whiz, Phil Rozek) was to focus on user location as the most important local rank signal. Therefore, Google My Business listings within proximity of users performing a search were more likely to populate in those queries.

In the following three years, SEO strategies and software changed to accommodate the first Possum update. Local rank tracking tools such as Local Falcon provided map results for local businesses by measuring a radius, as opposed to organic positioning. After 2016’s Possum update, Google’s latest local algorithm update drives home the importance of user location as a vital local rank signal. Businesses closest to users performing a search will rank higher again.

Results on Proximity Information and Adjustments

After Google’s Possum 2.0 update, many listings experienced major drops in local results. Along with the drops, spam has surfaced alongside new and legitimate listings of specific industries. Those within the local SEO community have confirmed such proximity results. Below is a quote from a user on the Local Search Forum:

“I just tried comparing data we had on a client from Oct. 17 to new data pulled just now. Previously the average distance between the search location and the results in the local pack was 9.98 mi, now it’s 4.87.

You’d have to do something a lot more rigorous than some quick Excel work to get a full picture, but it does seem that a number of results that were ranking from farther away no longer are. Previously competitors were ranking around this client from 60 miles away, now no one’s ranking from farther than 17 miles.” – Matthew Summers [2]

Google’s latest local algorithm update had such a negative impact on listings that some don’t show up in Google Map’s rankings at all. Throughout the algorithm rollout, Google has made adjustments by restoring listings a few days after their ranks initially plummeted. According to Local RankFlux data, Google has concluded post-update adjustments and the new, established rank will most likely be permanent.

 

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Source:

[1] Moz – Google Possum Algorithm Update

[2] Local Search Forum – [November 5, 2019 Local Algorithm Update] Unexplained big drops in GMB rankings

 

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