Possible Google Algorithm and Local Pack Changes Rolled Out Just Before Labor Day Weekend

If you need a little motivation to check in on your Google rankings after the holiday weekend, here’s something to think about. There is increasing evidence of a pretty big shake-up on Friday, September 2, that may have affected both Google’s core search algorithm and the “local pack,” which is the box showing local business listings alongside organic search results. At this point, Google has yet to confirm the update or any particular reason for it, saying only that it has nothing to do with the much-awaited Penguin 4.0 update—and that it makes unannounced, unnamed updates to search results all the time.

The Biggest Changes Being Reported in the Possible Google Update

Google hasn’t let us in on what this update might have been targeting, but reports of organic and local ranking changes have been coming in from all across the Web. The biggest change seems to be that Google identified a bunch of spammy local listings (or what it considers to be spam) and removed them. This means that some businesses could suddenly see big improvements in local visibility. On the flipside, some other sites—even if they aren’t necessarily considered “spammy”—may see a sudden drop in rankings due to issues with having duplicate local listings or inconsistent information across local listings.

If you haven’t taken a look at your site since Labor Day, it’s definitely worth seeing if you’ve been affected. From what we’ve seen so far, you might even be pleasantly surprised!

What We’ve Seen So Far With Our Clients in September 2016

We’ve definitely noted some interesting changes with our service clients in the first week. While not everyone saw movement, and not everyone saw local-specific movement, these are some examples of what we’ve seen happening:

  • A client went from having a local listing display for four out of 13 keywords that were showing in the local pack to now having 12 out of 16 for the client's main office location.
  • A client went from having a local listing in 46 out of 90 local searches to now having 64 out of 101.
  • A client saw good improvements for most tracked keywords, and is now in the local “3-pack” for a few search terms for which the client had been stalled at position four or five.
  • A client saw significant organic improvements on many keywords, which ratcheted up four to eight spots in organic results. He saw minor improvements in local, as well.
  • A client saw noticeable organic improvements, moving up anywhere from three spots to seven, for several organic keywords. Local rankings remained strong.

As you can see, the results have varied a lot for our clients, but have seemed mostly positive. If you are seeing a negative impact with the unconfirmed update, or if you aren’t sure if your rankings have changed, we’d be happy to help you take a look at what’s going on. Contact Foster Web Marketing today to take advantage of a comprehensive website analysis that will help you identify potential problem areas, wrangle your local listings, and set practical goals to attract and convert your perfect clients. If you need immediate help, you can also give our friendly team a call at 888-886-0939.

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