Have your local search results been fluctuating in recent months? If so, you are not alone and Google has confirmed that these fluctuations are tied to a major update to their local search algorithm.
The algorithm update – the largest in more than five years – goes by the name of “Vicinity” and was rolled out between November 30 and December 8.
According to Google, the update “involved a rebalancing of various factors we consider in generating local search results.”
It appears that the primary change brought on by Vicinity is giving increased weight to target proximity. For example, a law firm that operates within the geographical borders of Madison will be considered more relevant for a user searching in Madison.
This update means it will be more difficult to rank well in local searches for a market outside of your geographic area. While this may be viewed as a blow to suburban or exurban law firms, it actually provides a unique opportunity to nail down your local market. Google knows where people are searching from and they know where you are; Vicinity will help make that connection in Google’s local search results while allowing you to be up front with whom you are and where you are.
Some things remain the same. It is still crucial for firms to enter complete data, verify their location, keep accurate business hours, add photos, and tend to reviews as the foundation of their local search optimization strategy.
That is where the SEO and marketing professionals at Above the Bar Marketing come in to play. We can make sure you have a strong local search presence and help you stand above your geographic rivals while you focus your energy on your clients. Contact us to learn more.