Trending [November 5, 2019 Local Algorithm Update] Unexplained big drops in GMB rankings

Tim Colling

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Local Search Expert
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Sep 3, 2014
Messages
1,194
... If the new thing is a randomized merry-go-round philosophy, then selling the service will demand totally brand-new efforts.
For example, brand-new efforts like focusing budget on Google PPC ad spending instead of SEO tactics(?)

I am increasingly suspicious that what we are experiencing is either:
  1. Google being incredibly clumsy with their ranking algorithms' QA, or else
  2. Google forcing everyone to spend most of their budget on PPC ads
 

Fabiano

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2019
Messages
11
For example, brand-new efforts like focusing budget on Google PPC ad spending instead of SEO tactics(?)
I truly hope not. I'm still hopeful towards a change of tactis, but still within the SEO universe, although the PPC ads thing sounds like an actual possibility.
 

Fabiano

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2019
Messages
11
The local pack now reminds me of the old orkut profile page. Those who had a chance to use it know that it used to display about 12 of your friends on a grid on the right side of the feed right above the display of the communities list, and they all would change positions from time to time whenever you refreshed the page. The friends list used to be updated according to people being online or not, while the list of communities changed like a regular forum, whenever there was a new post to a topic. So, if you always wanted to be on the grid of your friends page, you just had to be online more often and ongoingly than the other friends they had. Likewise, is it maybe possible that we come to find out some controllable SEO mechanism that could/would prevent businesses from dropping positions?
 

djbaxter

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Jun 28, 2012
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It seems to me that until everything settles down it's premature to speculate. For one thing, this is probably not just one update. Google has acknowledged that there have been several minor and major updates in the past couple of weeks so it's conceivable that it's not all Bedlam.

Reminds me of the old days of the Google Dance, when Google would only push algorithm updates periodically and gradually to all their datacenters, and when that was happening sites would be up and down like a seesaw for a good few days or more.
 

WillSLV

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2019
Messages
10
We are at approx. 3 weeks now of this update and still waiting. 2 local service business clients maps are going crazy. The top report is from 11/28 and bottom result is from today, 11/29. Loosing and gaining over 100 spots over night every few days doesn't make sense.


 

loic

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
4
Hi, I’m writing you from France (sorry for my english level). It’s my first post.

I have a small business in France (Financ’immo in Angers - mortgage Broker) and I also observed

the same problem : volatility with GMB listings (no major change with organic rank). I was n°1 for many keywords with GMB on google and google map (more than 40 photos, more than 150 true 5 stars, FAQ and post every day - no city name nor category in the name of my listing, …)

Right now, my listings are 14/15 depending on the weather (-) ).

Many of my competitors do no respect google guidelines : the city name or the category in the GMB title.


Yesterday, I decided to change the GMB title of one of my competitor : remove the city name and the category.

Google wrote me : your revision is under review but it will not change the position of this listing



So it seems that the title of the GMB listing is not a ranking factor.

Did you observed the same thing ?
Regards
PhD
 

PeteKernow

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
7
My own rankings have gone from 2nd or 3rd to 10th or 11th between 1st November and 1st December. One competitor who is above me has no website link, only two reviews (one of which is a one-star review giving full details of how rubbish he is) and he's further from the city centre and much more recently established. I do everything that Google and SEO experts advise but still stuck with low rankings. They had improved suddenly after I got GMB to mark my old page as moved so my new address would regain ranking. But now they've dropped back down to worse than before I contacted Google.
 
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
17
Hi Matt,

Thanks so much for checking out the article. A couple of points I want to clarify. I never stated that the #1 position isn't changing. I stated the following: "The company that’s ranking #1 in Google’s map rankings hasn’t experienced nearly as much nearly as much volatility as position 2 and 3." This seems to have been misinterpreted at some point that position 1 isn't changing or swapping out, that's not the case. But position #1 in the local pack has been much more steady than position 2 and 3 from the data I've been monitoring. My theory and the point I was trying to prove is that the constant swapping in and out of the local pack could just be the new norm. It just doesn't make sense to me how Google could be rolling out an algorithm that's lasted more than a month.
Hi Jason!

Thanks for taking the time to make that clarification - my bad for not reading carefully enough!

A month long algorithm update does seem quite odd to me. I'm curious, do you know anyone who keeps track of how long updates/roll-outs typically take? Or has Google given any official word on how long it takes?
 

djbaxter

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Administrator
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Jun 28, 2012
Messages
2,913
Don't assume that an update is just dropped out there and not tweaked. I suspect some of the recent updates (and there have been more than one in the past month) are still being tweaked and that some of the volatility people are seeing is due to those tweaks.
 

raellovepie

Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
26
I have 3 takeaways on this ATM:
  1. Neural Matching will show different results from users. My coworker in the same office can get a different result than me for doing the same search.
  2. Existing Local Ranking tools may not be as helpful as their results may not show real-world ranking.
  3. Keyword stuffing may not be as effective (but we will see...)
 

BenFisher

Local Search Expert
Joined
Nov 19, 2015
Messages
329
The basics of this are not much has really changed "except" for the fact that there is a more enhanced version of semantic search at play in local results, that is the HUGE part (well along with an official word from Google about a local update). Google has always sought to identify and relate an entity to the meaning of words, phrases, and concepts. This is awesome for those who optimize for humans versus just search.

Also,
The use of neural matching means that Google can do a better job going beyond the exact words in business name or description to understand conceptually how it might be related to the words searchers use and their intents...
This statement alone is huge for those of us who felt that name stuffing was granting an unfair advantage. I believe it means that local is getting the treatment that organic had applied and that maybe keyword stuffing will not be as effective someday soon.
 

Fabiano

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2019
Messages
11
One thing I noticed is that results now seem to show a keyword reference when there is such. For example, if I search for "best pizza" I will see listings with reviews that mention the keywords typed in, this is not a new thing, but what didn't show up before and I can see now is that it also says that/when the website mentions best pizza.
 

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