Local business rankings will be affected by the latest Google algorithm update
Google has recently confirmed that they have concluded an update to their local search rankings algorithm for Google Business Listings – this update ran from November 30th to December 8th. This is the largest update since the â€œHawkâ€ update in 2017.
The new update is nicknamed â€˜Vicinityâ€™ and it seems to have increased the importance of â€˜proximityâ€™ as a ranking factor for listings in the local search results. . Although proximity has always been a factor when it comes to local search rankings, Google is now placing greater emphasis on the vicinity of the business to the search location regardless of search terms like â€˜near meâ€™ or area-specific terms being included.
With the Vicinity update, Google is now showing users more businesses that are near to their current location in the search results – with the aim of these businesses being more relevant to the user. This, in turn, benefits businesses as it gives them a better chance to rank well in relevant local searches due to not competing with businesses that are further away.
So what does this mean for businesses that utilise Google Business Listings – The businesses facing the largest search fluctuations due to this update are those that may have relied heavily on keywords to dominate certain search terms – â€œWe see a lot of businesses abusing the keyword and category functionality to try and increase search appearances, while individual businesses may have some success in overdoing the keywords, Google do already pick up on what they call â€œkeyword stuffingâ€ and sometimes penalise these listings in the results. However, this method now becomes increasingly ineffective as Google starts prioritising locality, businesses will need to focus on reputation and post/product features to ensure they beat out competitionâ€ says, Ashleigh Wainstein. â€™. Businesses who have consistently followed Googleâ€™s guidelines and fought listing spam can consider this a win as they will likely see a rise in their search rankings.
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