Google rolled out a pretty big algorithm update to their local search rankings as of last night. Currently there are not many details to analyze just yet, however it is known that the change has made a significant impact on local search. Ranking changes for local businesses, whether for better or worse, have been widely noticed. This has been stirring up quite a buzz in the SEO community and we are continuing to learn more and more about the algorithm change.
While not many details of this algorithm change can be said for sure, it is safe to say that this change is striving to push local search results signals to be more like that of traditional web search. Along with the changes in Google Search, changes in Google Maps will also be affected. This is exciting news for local businesses who have been developing a quality SEO strategy overtime (other businesses may see quite a drop in traffic and leads for local search) as they should see a spike in business.
Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable was able to get some information from the Google team and commented that the new local search algorithm “ties deeper into their web search capabilities” and takes into account “features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more.” Mr. Schwartz covers the current details of this algorithm in a video that I have posted right here. He also covers a few other subjects if you would like to learn about some more recent SEO news.
Ultimately put, the upgrade of Google local search is trying to bring users the most relevant information possible when they are searching for things nearby. This is definitely going to be interesting to see how it plays out. Sometimes Google will announce what percentage of queries have been affected, but we have yet to see any of that information. This change currently only pertains to English search results in the United States. When searching for a local business, we should also see more accurate distance attributes as well. It has also been noticed that this algorithm change is not necessarily spam focused, it is more so focused on making the local search a better experience for users.
Have you already noticed changes in local search results? Also, do you think Google is headed in the right direction with this local search algorithm update? Let us know your thoughts below.
“Google Launches New Local Search Algorithm: SEOs Notice Significant Ranking Changes” by Barry Schwartz
“Google Updates Local Search Algorithm With Stronger Ties To Web Search Signals” by Barry Schwartz