Google Algorithm Changes The Rules For Local Search

By Brett Lewis
Local Search MarketingLocal organic search engine optimization is up for a shake-up, or is it? Just recently Google has announced that the algorithm for organic local search is being updated. This change is slated to impact both the maps searches as well as organic SERPs.

Barry Schwartz, from SearchEngineLand.com stated in a recent blog post, “Google told us that the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more.

In addition, Google said that this new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters.”

Does this mean that all of those spammy maps listings will be shut out of the 7-box, finally? Time will tell as the dust settles. Hopefully organic searches will reward a website that is doing things correctly with good placement in the the SERPs.

It sounds like geographic location is going to be taken into consideration with a little more weight for the organic 7-box, making it more difficult for website spammers to manipulate outcomes with questionable search engine optimization methods.

Barry goes on to say, “The new algorithm is currently rolling out for US English results and aims to provide a more useful and relevant experience for searchers seeking local results.”

At L4 Group, we are seeing some big shifts in the SERPs however it is still too early to tell the full impact. As with other major changes, we suspect that there will be some further ‘tweaks’ by Google over the next several weeks that may impact your website, so don’t panic and start changing all of your organic search engine optimization techniques just yet. As with other algorithm shake ups, we advise our clients to sit tight and not to change up their organic SEO services until we understand exactly what is impacted. And always implement safe organic optimization tactics, regardless of the engine being targeted.

As Mike Blumenthal points out in his blog post, there also appears to be less duplication of results in both the 7-Pack and the organic where the order of the organic and local results mirrored each other. And in this search at least, the radius of the search has been reduced significantly. The three organic top results were all located in the suburb to the east of the city.

We are seeing similar organic rankings as Mike Blumenthal, less duplication on page one for listings in both the 7-pack and organic SERPs. Interestingly, in the early phases of this shakeup, it appears as though certain niches are being impacted harder than others. For instance, the 7 box is gone for many real estate listings that previously enjoyed Google Maps listings, and people are taking notice! In the past two days we have many contacts in the Real Estate industry that have been calling our offices asking if they should change their website engine optimization strategies.

Please comment about any changes you are noticing with your website in the organic search engine listings or map placement and if you are planning any changes in your search engine optimization service or services.