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It looks like there was a significant Google local search algorithm update starting this past Friday, February 14th, and still continuing through today. This seems to have impacted the rankings of local business listings in the Google local packs and Google Maps results.
I am seeing signs both in terms of chatter within the local SEO community around this update, plus the newish BrightLocal Local Rankflux tool is showing big fluctuations this weekend. In fact, there is some interesting chatter in the Local Search Forums.
Here is a screen shot of the tool as of this morning:
As you can see, starting this past Friday, there was a huge change to the changes in the local results in Google search. The changes and fluctuations have continued through today. This tool tracks daily ranking movements across 14,000+ keywords to measure volatility and identify suspected algorithm updates. The company discloses its process for tracking and reporting on these changes over here if you want to learn more.
The Local Search Forums has comments from local SEOs.
We’re definitely seeing tons of movement. I’m not really going to do anything though for now until after several days have passed and we see what sticks.
Yes, lots of volatility. Never make any changes, until it all plays out.
Stephanie Newton from BrightLocal added:
For context, 4.78 is the highest score we’ve seen (excluding a bug in August 2019). It’s higher even than when we experienced the Bedlam update last November.
Rosie from BrightLocal later added:
When comparing to a ‘normal’ day (24/1, for context), businesses are 50% less likely to have stayed in the same position as yesterday. ‘Normally’, around 35-55% of businesses don’t see any changes, but today this was just 26%.
It also looks like more businesses saw big drops (more than 10 places) – this was up about 139% compared to the 24th – though these account for a pretty small number of the overall businesses (0.27% on the 24th, to 0.68% today). About 90% more than usual businesses gained 10+ places today (5.32% of businesses, up from 2.71% on the 24th). But, we’ve seen slightly higher than usual flux over the last week or so, so this could potentially be businesses returning to their places before the smaller-level fluctuations.
Have you seen changes with your local rankings over the weekend?
Forum discussion at Local Search Forums.