Warning: Google Local Algorithm Update Imminent

22 July, 2020

11 mins read

Warning Google Local Algorithm Update

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Search engine optimisers have always suspected business names influence local Google rankings. This week, Google’s Public Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, confirmed the Google Local Algorithm is impacted by business names containing products or services, but this is set to change in a coming update.

For business owners and marketers, this could be stomach-plummeting news, but we’re here with some tips to help you get educated and prepared. Be sure to share this article on your socials to help others be in the know.

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash.

What We Know About the Google Local Algorithm Update

Thursday, 16 July 2020: Local SEO Specialist Joy Hawkins Tweeted an example of how businesses including products or services in their name rank higher in Google’s local search results, despite being irrelevant in location. 

Friday, 17 July 2020: Joy Hawkins Tweeted further examples of the Google Local Algorithm weighing heavily on business names with products and services in them.

Saturday, 18 July 2020: Google Public Search Liaison Danny Sullivan Tweets Joy Hawkins confirming Google is aware of the complaint and has been working on an improvement for some time, with an update coming in the near future.

Tweet from Google Public Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, on 18 July 2020

In summary:

  • Google is aware of potential issues with service-laden business names being ranked higher in local search results, despite not being close to the searcher’s location.
  • Local SEO experts have been concerned this fault is being targeted for quick SEO gains, despite not being a long-term, ethical strategy. 
  • A Google spokesperson and employee has confirmed Google’s team are working on a resolution to ensure their local search results are as relevant as possible to searchers and resolve a loophole for businesses to be exploited by dodgy SEO agencies.

How Will the Google Local Algorithm Affect Businesses

In short, if you are following evergreen SEO strategies, you shouldn’t see any impact to your performance when the Google Local Algorithm update is rolled out. So, if you’re considering changing your business name, maybe focus on your website quality instead. However, this is a reminder to businesses that rankings do not always mean results. 

Businesses are often misled to believe rankings are the ultimate success of Local SEO, when in fact, rankings are a superficial performance indicator. By understanding what Local SEO is and how to do it, you can help ensure you’re being brought customers, not just being seen.

What is Local SEO?

Local search engine optimisation, also known as LSEO or Local SEO, is the targeting of relevant localised search engine results to help increase compatible traffic to your website. To do this, you need to show search engines where you are or where you service, what you do and why you are the best solution to a searcher’s query. 

Performing Local SEO includes creating and optimising a Google My Business page, local directory listings, landing pages and the overall website. When it is done correctly, your positioning on local search results for your target area and industry should improve, which will bring you customers who are ready to engage.

5 Ways to Prepare for Google Updates

1. Have a consistent and relevant content strategy.

As our Head of SEO, Mike Andrew, demonstrated throughout COVID-19, timely, relevant content creation via your website, blog and external platforms is crucial for keeping up to date with Google updates. At a minimum, you should be posting new content at least twice a week, and immediately sharing on your Google My Business and socials. 

Updating your content regularly triggers Google to look at your website more frequently, giving you more opportunities to enter search results.

2. Optimise and continue to update your off-page SEO.

Off-page SEO refers to the elements you work on outside of your actual website. This includes your online listings (like Localsearch Online), Google My Business, social media and more. These factors help Google authenticate the information on your website (like your business name, address and phone number, known as NAP), and can also be a quick source of information for the search engine.

3. Focus on your user-experience.

At the end of the day, Google’s job is to serve the most relevant search results possible to the user’s query, so they want to keep them happy to keep them coming back. This actually makes our job much easier when doing SEO, as we can simply focus on what users will find the most crucial in their buying or browsing experience. This includes:

  • Ensuring a website is fast and secure.
  • Having thorough, relevant content.
  • Being able to navigate a website easily.
  • Not coming across any broken links to annoying pop-ups.
  • The ability to use a website efficiently on any type of device.

4. Utilise schema.

Schema markup is code you add to your website’s backend that acts as signposts to highlight important information to Google. For example, you can use Person Schema to show Google an author of a blog on your website is an authoritative voice in the subject they’re writing about.

If you have used Schema correctly, it will help Google rank you on search engines and possibly gain you a rich snippet. A rich snippet is the excerpts you’ll see other than websites on search engine results, like when review stars are shown or a paragraph is pulled from the page’s content.

5. Monitor your results weekly, at a minimum.

The thing about SEO is only Google knows exactly what is going to happen and when. For us, this means constant monitoring of our website traffic and positioning to indicate if there have been any changes. From there, the task of SEO is to become educated on why something may have happened, what to implement to fix it, actually implement changes and continue monitoring — and repeat. 

If you have concerns about the Google Local Algorithm update or keeping up with SEO trends, we’re here to help. Contact us now to learn more about our Local SEO service from only $19 a week or for some free advice. 

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