How the Latest Google Update Impacted Local Businesses
If your local business website was affected by the recent core algorithm Google update, you weren’t the only one. Those who primarily work in the small business market should be particularly vigilant of how the update changed the dynamics of local search.
Google, the leading search engine company that rolled out the update, called the core algorithm update a global one which affected search results irrespective of region or language. There are claims on the internet of it targeting medical sites and YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) sites and local businesses that focus on Local SEO for their regional presence and visibility.
Google releases more than one update on a daily basis. This post will discuss the impact of the August 2018 Google update on local businesses.
What Does Local SEO Do?
But first, let’s quickly bring everyone up-to-speed.
Local SEO is a best way to market your products or services to customers that are local to your business sand searching for you based on region, zip code, or county. Many strategies can be employed to effectively use local SEO.
These include getting your website ranked on business directories like Yelp, creating localized web content, receiving positive online reviews, and more. However, the strategy that trumps them all is getting a website ranked on search engines like Google.
Professional local SEO services provide targeted online marketing which is far more effective than traditional means like printing an ad in a local newspaper. This is because while potential customers might or might not see the newspaper ad, they are instantly directed to your site if your business is located close-by.
Let’s take a look at how local and small businesses were affected post the Google update.
Businesses in the Healthcare Industry Faced Losses in Organic Traffic
A very clear casualty of the recent update was healthcare. A significant drop in organic traffic was observed for websites belonging to the healthcare industry. For example, those drug rehab sites which faced losses in customer traffic suffered because their web pages were related to certain medical malpractice lawsuits.
Previous core updates were referenced by Google as it claimed that there’s no fix for sites with consistently poor performance. They should focus on creating top-performing content to see a positive change in their rankings over time.
It maintains that with every update, there are some sites that benefit more than others. Notable drops and gains is part of the game. Pages that might not have been performing well gain rankings due to the changes in their systems.
Keyword Rankings Increased
It was observed that the latest Google update increased the rankings of the majority of keywords targeting different regions even though the primary address of that business was somewhere else nearby.
To elaborate, suppose a company is based in Dallas, Texas but gets most of their customer from Plano. The latest Google update increased the rankings of the majority of keywords involving Plano despite the fact that the company’s location is in Dallas.
Changes in Organic Results
Although it’s common to see algorithm updates impacting local or organic results, we noticed that the update affected both.
The time gap between the two updates was also kept short. The local update apparently occurred over the July 31-August 1 period. The organic update took effect the same day, from August 1-August 2.
Backlinks Weren’t Affected
There is a strong correlation with good quality content and hyperlinks. We don’t just mean the number of links, but the actual domain authority and website credibility.
The Google update focused more on web content quality than on hyperlinks.
This means that pages with appropriate backlinks ranked well on Google SERPs.
Increased Gap Between Local and Organic Algorithms
Typically, websites that rank high organically and the local results listings which rank high are directly related. However, this Google update hasn’t resulted in a correlation between the two at all.
This means that sites enjoying organic traffic boost didn’t experience high rankings in local results and vice versa. In other cases, the patterns are completely reversed. Websites with high organic results experienced a drop in local rankings and vice versa.
This means that the organic traffic of some websites decreased consistently and yet their local rankings increased significantly.
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