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  1. #1
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    Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

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    Local is changing it up again! Wish I had a crystal ball!

    There has been buzz brewing for the past week or so about major changes in the local search results.
    And even just how search works in general. For a few days people were unable to set search location or get it to stick. It appears it's working again now.

    But the bigger concern is results seem to be more national organic and less localized. PLUS even if you set location to where you client is, the organic results you see are all for the actual location you are searching from and you don't get results that are localized to the search location setting.

    PLUS packs are smaller and more scattered if you don't use a GEO modifer.
    Just all kinds of changes!


    Check out Mike's blog for overview.

    Google Location Results Still Screwy | Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

    Here is my reply at Mike's blog after doing a quick analysis of a few SERPs.

    I normally research with GEO because it's just more predictable and easier to do comparisons.

    But the majority of consumers search without GEO. So most consumers are going to be seeing theses smaller pack/less localized results.

    I just did some quick checks and noticed one additional little thing of interest...

    I searched for Dentist, and then cosmetic Dentist in 3 markets.
    Seattle, LA and Atlanta.

    In all 3 cases when I search for the single word Dentist, there is no map, on top right to give you the signal that it's a local result and no pack above the fold.

    When you scroll down you find there is indeed a pack and a map on the right side. But a smaller pack in most cases (3, 4, 7) than the 2 word phrase pulls.

    For Dentist I also get the "occupation" info card on the right under the map. And national news and info sites about Dentist, as if it's a generic search, not a local search.

    For Cosmetic Dentist in all 3 cities I get somewhat more normal local results.
    Map top right and a full 7 pack.

    However with both queries I get very mixed packs with results from surrounding cities, not just the city location is set to. So for instance Dentist (in Seattle) I get a 3 pack and there are tons of dentists there BUT it only shows 1 from Seattle. The other 2 are Bellevue. Cosmetic Dentist show 7 pack with Dentists from Bellevue and Redmond in the mix.

    With both queries I do however get San Marcos listings in organic.

    So, for the single word Dentist, based on no map up top, smaller packs and that "occupation" info card it seems like the algo is not picking up a strong sense of local intent.

    But when you add a qualifier like Cosmetic to the query, she becomes a little more certain you are looking for local results.

    However organic, pretty much still gives you results for your actual location, not the search location setting.

    Chiropractor (Seattle) Same thing. No map top right, occupation box and lots of national results and news stories, like it's more of a generic search instead of a local search.

    Not sure if anything I said above carries through to other queries. Just a quick and limited observation.

    Other discussions here:

    Has Google switched off location settings in Search Tools? The 1st thing I do…

    Phil Rozek on Twitter: "Anyone notice very diff. local results today? They aren’t local unless w/ a geomod. @mblumenthal @localseoguide @MaryBowling @darrenshaw_"

    However you cut it, looks like less localized results.

    Couple this with other recent changes like +Local Search being nuked. And links to G+L from map listings being removed. Makes me a little nervous about where all these changes are heading.

    My head is spinning!

    Are you seeing flux? Noticing anything different than normal???

    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    re: Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

    Hi Linda:

    Ditto all around. Organic results set to my location in Cincinnati regardless of where I set the location tab. And, I'm getting different results by searching on city keyword and city state keyword. Ughhhh!
    Jon Keel
    Improved Results, LLC
    (P) 513-257-8633
    (F) 614-388-5656
    (E) jonk@improvedresults.com


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    re: Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

    I'm seeing massive differences between what I see on Google.com vs. Google.ca which tells me the US got an update that we have not got yet. Looks like what happened with Pigeon.

    One thing I'm seeing a lot of is for big branded searches, Yelp being replaced with more results from the actual company searched.

    Ex: "McDonalds Seattle"

    https://www.google.ca/#q=mcdonalds+seattle - shows Yelp first. Urban Spoon is further down on the page twice


    https://www.google.com/search?num=10...onalds+seattle - first result is now the (very unoptimized) McDonalds homepage. The second result is the equally un-optimized locator page.

    SEM Rush shows a massive drop for Yelp this month as Andrew Shotland pointed out. If you look at their organic traffic for Yelp.ca in Canada - it's stable.
    Joy Hawkins
    Owner of Sterling Sky
    Author of The Expert's Guide to Local SEO [, a 260+ page training manual that is updated monthly and contains advanced tips and tactics for Local SEO that actually work and drive results.

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    re: Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

    Quote Originally Posted by jonkeel View Post
    Hi Linda:

    Ditto all around. Organic results set to my location in Cincinnati regardless of where I set the location tab. And, I'm getting different results by searching on city keyword and city state keyword. Ughhhh!
    Thanks for confirming Jon. Looks like this update so far as done the exact opposite of your business name: "Improved Results"
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    re: Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyHawkins View Post
    I'm seeing massive differences between what I see on Google.com vs. Google.ca which tells me the US got an update that we have not got yet. Looks like what happened with Pigeon.
    Thanks for all your insights Joy. I had not as yet checked Google.ca results.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    re: Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

    No change in Mozcast so far. What you are seeing might be a test or something wonky with some data centers. It can also be related to the quality update. Might be an unanticipated side effect - ie local sites failing quality scores.

    MozCast Feature Graph

    New quality update is a change to the algorithm and runs constantly. Pages that are lower quality will not surface as highly until the quality gets better. It is possible that local sites are getting hit hard.

    The Quality Update: Google Confirms Changing How Quality Is Assessed, Resulting In Rankings Shake-Up

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    re: Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

    Good points all Jacob! Thanks for bringing that up. I didn't have a chance to check MOZ yet.

    As I mentioned on Google+ it could have something to do with proposed maps algo change too.

    Google to Tweak Pigeon Algo due to Racial Slurs & Google Map Search???

    If they felt pressured to tweak Pigeon quickly, maybe it came out half baked.

    But this seems to be more about the local search intent parameters changing.

    But who knows. We could be seeing the affect of a couple different new algo changes at once.
    She sure keeps us on our toes!
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    re: Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

    Yeah, seeing funny things here too.

    Example:

    a cityname dentist search term that I am working with currently went back to a 3 pack instead of a 7 (search volume is 100+ and always had a 7 pack), but the one ranking #1 in the pack and #2 organic (just below the pack) has a title tag:

    Business name : Home

    Example:

    Awesome Dental : Home

    And the #6th organic result is for a dentist with cityname as his last name who happens to be about 150-200 miles away from the city I am searching in!

    His domain is
    lastnamedentistry.com (lastname=cityname too)
    Title Tag:
    Different City Dentist | Suburb City Dentist | Last Name Dentistry

    Not sure if any of that makes sense, but yes, I am seeing similar weird stuff.

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    re: Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    re: Major Google Local Algo Changes - No it was a BUG, Now Fixed

    Some pros speculate this is the Quality Update, others the Doorway Update and the majority say it's related to the update resulting from the racial slurs on Google maps.

    What do you attribute these changes too? One of the updates above or something else?

    (I'm calling something else - I don't think it's any of those.)

    I can't ask my contacts at Google on the Local side because they won't discuss ranking changes at all. But I asked Barry Schwartz to reach out to his Google contacts because I think this change is more on the organic/display side of the house.

    What kind of shake-ups are you seeing in the local markets you track?

    PS I saw a really odd result yesterday. Let me go find it.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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