Google confirmed in December that it released a local search update that started on November 30. It concluded on December 8. Our local SEO expert team noticed serious differences upon seeing the local pack results. It’s the biggest change to the local SERPs since the Google Hawk update in 2017.
Local SEO Expert Explains What Was the Vicinity Update
As the term suggests, it’s related to the area surrounding or near a particular place. It was an update that affected proximity. The changes corresponded with Google’s map pack layout changes. Google’s new map is now square, rather than rectangular. If your business dominated the entire market, you might have seen huge declines in SERPs that you show up in. If your brand is keyword-rich and it dominated the entire market that never should, then you might see huge drops.
Updating Business Information
Even though Google updated its local search algorithm, it still follows its general guidelines for local ranking. If you’re seeing a huge decline in SERP, Google recommends updating your business information to improve better visibility. “You may find that your business doesn’t show up for relevant searches in your area. To maximize how often users find your business in local search results, ensure that your business information in Business Profile is accurate, complete, and engaging.”
What Does It mean for Local Business Owners?
The update simply means that Google wants to emphasize relevance, distance, and prominence. There’s no major change there, though. But Google wants you to enter your business’ complete data and verify your locations. Make sure that your opening hours are accurate. And if there are reviews received, consider managing and responding to them.
User Experience — a Priority
Google remains committed to providing its users with the best local search results. Hence, it continues to update its local search algorithm to improve user experience. To make sure that your ranking won’t change because of the update, make sure to adapt to the landscape and update. As long as you adhere to its Guidelines, you can achieve sustainable search success.
Encourage Customer Reviews
Reviews are social proof that is vital for Google to rank your website. This proof can help customers decide whether or not to avail of your services. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to encourage customers to leave reviews about their experience with your shop or the products your sell. You may personally ask them if they visit your store. Or offer them some perks or discounts to leave reviews on Google.
Have You Been Affected by the Vicinity Update?
If you have been affected by this recent update in local search ranking, you may talk to our local SEO expert. Your ranking can still be reclaimed. There are some tweaks you need to do to ensure that you adhere to Google’s guidelines. Besides updating your business information, there are some tricks that you may need to carry out to improve visibility. Talk to us here: (855) 605-7361.