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

gabagoon

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Oct 13, 2019
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I don't think this update will last. Google will go back and realize what a huge mess this has created. I give them another week and everything will revert back. They will go back to the drawing board after, basically they are trying to figure out how to dial up on the proximity filter is why they even released something like this.
 

Wayne123

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Oct 22, 2019
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I just tried comparing data we had on a client from Oct. 17 to new data pulled just now. Previously the average distance between the search location and the results in the local pack was 9.98 mi, now it's 4.87.

You'd have to do something a lot more rigorous than some quick Excel work to get a full picture, but it does seem that a number of results that were ranking from farther away no longer are. Previously competitors were ranking around this client from 60 miles away, now no one's ranking from farther than 17 miles.

I'll take a closer look at the data tomorrow and see if other clients are seeing something similar!
I have a comparison report for two GMB locations for a client, and the drop is big
 

Attachments

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May 14, 2019
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Hmm. I wonder if it's further tightening of the proximity factor. Has anyone compared Local Falcon reports before/after?
Update - I compared several other clients' before/during data.

Neither the median nor the average distance between search location and ranked listing changed all that much - so I think I'll drop the proximity theory, at least for now.
 
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raj.vasa

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Nov 7, 2019
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Seeing some fluctuations and gains back today (still not to previous rankings). I think the right advice is to sit back and let it settle then try to figure out what caused it. The listings with major gains mainly seem to have keywords (or LSI's) in their titles. This is even with little to no reviews and fewer citations than others that have lost rank. In addition, the businesses that I see with the least changes also seem to have the keyword or LSI's in their titles.

Edit: After reading gabagoon's post and analyzing a number of results (not concrete by any means), it does seem to be a proximity update. Even when searching for a keyword + geo-modifier, Google seems to be showing me businesses closer to my given location of search with a few exceptions which can be related to brand authority etc.
 
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gabagoon

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Oct 13, 2019
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Update - I compared a several other clients' before/during data.

Neither the median nor the average distance between search location and ranked listing changed all that much - so I think I'll drop the proximity theory, at least for now.

Look at the top 5 in the map pack. Not the top 3, then you will see it's a proximity update. Of course brand authority, age of gmb listing, and etc still outweigh the new update, but this is still a proximity update.
 

JoyHawkins

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Jul 18, 2012
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Look at the top 5 in the map pack. Not the top 3, then you will see it's a proximity update. Of course brand authority, age of gmb listing, and etc still outweigh the new update, but this is still a proximity update.
My early findings are also showing it's a proximity update. I promise to update you all next week - I'm just not confident in any findings until I have spent enough time analyzing a lot of examples.
 

Austin_Holds

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Nov 7, 2019
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Just an update on my end, a lot of listings got hit very hard as I mentioned earlier. I've lost 50% of my GMB traffic this week.
 
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Mar 28, 2013
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Is what Austin just reported happening for others as well? I was immediately able to reproduce it, not just for "massage kenosha wi" but for another random search I entered, "physicians tehachapi ca." Go to the local finder and move the map slightly. Rankings change. Try it again, nothing happens.
 

JayT

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Aug 20, 2019
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Interesting 3-pack results here in Alpharetta for SEO companies. We've been on the 3-pack since inception and dropped several spots to spam listings.
 
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WillSLV

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Nov 7, 2019
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Maybe something to consider?
What does un-filtering the results mean when you move the map over a pixel? Our one page is still on page 5 of maps dropping from page 1. When I move the map (as described in the above) on desktop it pops the listing back to page 1 where we've been for about a year and half.
 

seoservices

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Nov 9, 2019
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@JoyHawkins @Austin_Holds . Thanks for the great start on investigating this algo update. My client in long beach still ranks #3 nationally for 'long beach carpet cleaning' but local searches--where we used to be #3--are fluctuating wildly. I agree with @JoyHawkins that it's best to wait this out. Here are three early observations:
1) service area businesses are being given more authority in 3-pack rankings
--in some cases even service area businesses that are outside of the keyword + city searched
2) proximity searches appear to be even more approximate making it more difficult to rank broadly within a geo/city search
3) service area is becoming a factor (though limited) for NAP businesses

Again, once this settles out, my guess is we'll see more trends -- and maybe some of these will no longer matter -- but thus far, I'm seeing this equally across multiple verticals for my clients
 

gabagoon

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Oct 13, 2019
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@JoyHawkins @Austin_Holds . Thanks for the great start on investigating this algo update. My client in long beach still ranks #3 nationally for 'long beach carpet cleaning' but local searches--where we used to be #3--are fluctuating wildly. I agree with @JoyHawkins that it's best to wait this out. Here are three early observations:
1) service area businesses are being given more authority in 3-pack rankings
--in some cases even service area businesses that are outside of the keyword + city searched
2) proximity searches appear to be even more approximate making it more difficult to rank broadly within a geo/city search
3) service area is becoming a factor (though limited) for NAP businesses

Again, once this settles out, my guess is we'll see more trends -- and maybe some of these will no longer matter -- but thus far, I'm seeing this equally across multiple verticals for my clients
1. I doubt it's to do with service areas being given more authority. It's aged GMBS given more authority (and some other factors)

2. True, but some GMB's are still ranking within top 3 even if you go further apart from the business address. (Goes to show there's more involved, which I wont go in detail till I see this update settle down)

3. Again nothing to do with service area.

The update is reverting back, not back to Nov 2 and back, but back to making a bit more sense, where GMB's that should be on the top are back. If you think your GMB "Should be back at the top if that's the case" then check how long that GMB has been around compared to the other ones at the top who are expanding beyond their normal proximity.
 

IMP

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Sep 12, 2019
Messages
18
We are seeing what looks like a hyper focus from google meaning extreme proximity to user. Our clients are ranking in maps that did before but only within extreme proximity compared to before.
 

ed5150

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Nov 9, 2019
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I originally thought it might have been a hyperlocal thing but (ironically) the local competitor who has come through this totally unscathed is:

- miles away and still ranking well within a 10 mile radius (we have only held up within < 1 mile)
- has an unverified GMB account with no exact address
- has just a keyword+location name and no website link

and his website has a spam score of 55% from Moz. So I can vouch for the fact that this update is penalising well run , highly rated businesses and replacing them with spam businesses.

In one local area where I have been in the map pack all year I have been replaced with one business that rates 2 stars ( vs our 4.5 which is only that low due to malicious fake reviews from a competitor) and by another that actually hasn't been open for 2 years.


Hopefully there is enough backlash that Google undoes much of the damage. Otherwise we might just have to pay them for Adwords. Hmm.
 

Stefan

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May 9, 2019
Messages
3
Here we see a big drops in overall organic rankings as well. At the beginning of week (Nov 3rd) we had decent gains (up to 20%), but at the end of the week (Nov 9th) we have drops around 30% compared to same period last week.

 

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