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

Linda Buquet

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Thanks Chris, weird.

So you are in Denver and seeing those more accurate results?

I just double checked and now I'm getting totally different results

Now I'm getting a 3 pack.

My screenshot. dentist - Google Search | Awesome Screenshot

I think results are kooky and changing so much because this update must still be rolling out.

Remember how cray cray Pigeon was right at the beginning?
 

Linda Buquet

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(12:30 PM) Now I'm getting a 3 pack.

My screenshot. dentist - Google Search | Awesome Screenshot

I think results are kooky and changing so much because this update must still be rolling out.

Remember how cray cray Pigeon was right at the beginning?
Now I'm getting totally different results.

Now it's 7 pack again. But all the extra Mints are gone, but still a pretty mixed pack with other cities in it.
Vs Scott's pack from Plano which was all Dallas.

Here's my latest: :eek:
dentist - Google Search | Awesome Screenshot

FYI I'm adding all the Dentist (Dallas) ranking screenshots to post #11 so they are all in one place.
 

CodyBaird

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Call me crazy but all I see is "noise". Change requires...change. I've seen so many "shake ups" over the years. Looking at rankings, search results over short period of time without factoring impressions, site traffic, and conversions will only yield a mild case of temporary insanity.

It does make for interesting banter and speculation though. Which are some of my favorite reads.

At the end of it all - Google still chasing quality signals as best as possible using Algos to make those decisions.

I will also say that the day is coming when precise ranking reports will be about as prevelant as and valuable as keyword data (not found). SEO's should start looking for better KPI's and signals.
 

Phil Rozek

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Hey Cody,

I'm with you all the way. But the frustrating parts of this change - or at least two things that coincided with it - are (1) that the "search location" feature doesn't work, and (2) all the two-packs and three-packs. Those sort of changes go beyond the usual dial-twisting at Google.
 

CodyBaird

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I hear you Phil. Maybe it's blind optimism, or hope on my behalf. But I'm looking for things to smooth out, roll back towards "normal" if you will or "normal..ish".

As far as rankings go, I believe that as much as 50% of search query data is from SEO's, ranking tools, and business owners. Google is in the business of making money. All those queries and pogo sticking &?%#up quality signals and cost a lot of money to process, so that we can feed "our curiosity". Why wouldn't a search engine do everything possible to throw a wrench in the program to discourage the "bad behavior". For the same reason, I believe speed of sites will be rewarded long term. Latency has a cost.

And between you and I. Sometimes I tend to act like Skip Bayless, contradictory for the sake of discussion or debate. I apologize if/when it's annoying. The fun part is when I stick my foot in my mouth or end up eating crow. It may be fun for someone to chuckle and think to themselves, "idiot", "loud mouth" [emoji48]

Looking at the issue from 30,000 feet, (perspective or I'm "high") the most important recent update/article was shared by Andrew Shortland showing local directories and secondary search engines taking it on the chin and local business as a collective being the big winner.
 
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Linda Buquet

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Call me crazy but all I see is "noise". Change requires...change. I've seen so many "shake ups" over the years. Looking at rankings, search results over short period of time without factoring impressions, site traffic, and conversions will only yield a mild case of temporary insanity.

It does make for interesting banter and speculation though.
I feel many consultants appreciate those of us who report on these issues and investigate to try to figure them out, so they can stay in the know, Cody.

NEW INFO:

Barry at Search Engine Roundtable reports that Google is aware of this and looking into it.

<a href="https://www.seroundtable.com/google-location-bug-issues-20352.html">Google Investigating Location Bug Reports With Google Search</a>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/screamingfrog">@screamingfrog</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnMu">@JohnMu</a> we are looking into the numerous reports we got about this. Thanks for the ping!</p>— Gary Illyes (@methode) <a href="https://twitter.com/methode/status/603210352105377792">May 26, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

For those that don't know Gary, is with Google and is one of the more public faces that shares webmaster type info - kind of like John Mueller.

So it sounds like at least the GEO location weirdness we are seeing, may not be an intended change, but a temporary glitch. Fingers crossed.

Thanks Barry for the head's up!

Sorry Cody, more noise. :p
 

CodyBaird

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I'm just offering another perspective. Not attacking anyone. I will give myself 10 lashings later tonight and work on smoothing off my rough edges. If I didn't love the insights, I wouldn't read every inch of the forum.
 

Linda Buquet

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No worries Cody, you made some good points!

And I always enjoy hearing other perspectives, so don't lash yourself on my account! :p
 

Linda Buquet

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Barry at Search Engine Roundtable reports that Google is aware of this and looking into it.

So it sounds like at least the GEO location weirdness we are seeing, may not be an intended change, but a temporary glitch. Fingers crossed.

Thanks Barry for the head's up!
OK so it turns out this was just a bug. And it appears to be fixed.

HUGE thanks to Barry Schwartz once again for giving me a heads up!


So the problems before in my "Dentist" location set to Dallas example in post #11 were

1) Scrambled packs with bogus results and several results from different cities.

2) Organic looking like general national search with Dentist news and general info topics.

3) All the Dental offices in the organic listings were in San Marcos CA, where I am.

4) Plus someone at SE Land noticed, even if you got the location to stick in the top search location settings, if you checked bottom of search screen it would still say you were geolocated to your IP location.

5) Ranking reports were all screwy.

Well I just checked "Dentist" with location set to Dallas and I get the exact same results Scott Davis who is near Dallas got in screenshot, post #11.

PLUS the organics are all for Dallas Dentists and at bottom of page it shows location as Dallas too.

So bug fixed, not an algo change as some of us thought.

Thanks again Barry for alerting me to the fix. His post:
<a href="https://www.seroundtable.com/google-local-search-fixed-20359.html">Google Local Search Issues Returning To Normal?</a>

Can you guys check some of the examples that were screwy for you before and confirm it's fixed for you too?
 

Linda Buquet

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On Google+ Joy replied:

Joy Hawkins
"But there was still an algo change that was the one to bring back packs for Real Estate & get rid of directories (like Yelp), especially for branded searches."

I replied:
"True Joy. However that post was specifically about all the GEO weirdness, not the other one(s)."

So wanted to mention it here. There have been other algo changes but this one we are discussing in this thread was a bug not an update.
 

Linda Buquet

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From Barry at Search Engine Land

<a href="http://searchengineland.com/google-wont-say-if-google-local-changes-due-to-googlebomb-fix-221755">Google Won't Say If Google Local Changes Due To Googlebomb Fix</a>

Google has noted the local ranking changes but will not confirm that it was related to the Googlebomb fix for the racist local results in Google Maps.
 

Phil Rozek

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Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,558
As one of the first people to whine about it, I can confirm that the "search locations" feature seems to be fully functional again :)
 

Linda Buquet

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Good Myles.

I'm sure all the craziness earlier in the week put a crimp in your relaxing vacation.
Now you can go back to it and enjoy it! :)
 

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