Last month, it became clear that Google had rolled out its biggest local algorithm update in years, possibly its biggest since the “Possum” update in 2016. If you or your local search marketing provider noticed fluctuations in your Google Maps rankings, this update was to blame.
“Possum” emphasized user proximity as the most important local search ranking factor; the more recent update did the same, according to analysis by Search Engine Land and several local SEO communities. In other words, any rankings drop you experienced probably isn’t related to the quality of your Maps listing, so urgent changes won’t reverse your fortunes.
“I never suggest making sudden, rash changes as a result of an algorithm update,” local search guru Joy Hawkins said in the Local Search Forum. “I think it’s important to learn what we can and adapt ongoing strategies if needed. Often I don’t find much about our strategies ever change as the result of Google updating their algorithm.”
Local search marketing experts expect to see more spammy Maps listings in the wake of this update. When user proximity outranks other quality factors, illegitimate local listings can sometimes take precedence over established businesses. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google Mapes carries roughly 11 million fake listings. Google cracked down on the problem in response, but the new update may once again encourage shady practices. There is also a chance that paid search may become more competitive if businesses can’t secure real estate on Maps.
As a Google Premier Partner digital advertising agency with significant experience in local search marketing, GrowthEngine Media can help you rank for local queries and get noticed by customers in your region. For more information about our local search, paid search, SEO, social media, web development, and other services, don’t hesitate to reach out today.