If you local business witnessed huge fluctuations in the local search rankings in the first week of December then there is a very good reason for it. And the reason, as confirmed by Google in a tweet, is November 2021 Local Search Update, which began rolling out on November 30 and finished on December 8. The update targeted local search results and focused on, quote-unquote, rebalancing for various factors that Google considers important while generating local search results.
Our November 2021 local search update has concluded. It began Nov 30 and ran through Dec 8. It involved a rebalancing of various factors we consider in generating local search results. General guidance for businesses remains the same as covered here: https://t.co/uyXFfmUEIR
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) December 16, 2021
The New Local Interface Update was confirmed by a Google Spokesperson who said, “We’re constantly exploring ways to connect people with the helpful information that they’re seeking. We’re currently rolling out an update to the Search interface on desktop so when people search for places or businesses nearby, like ‘parks near me’ or ‘restaurants near me,’ they’ll easily see local results on the left and a map on the right. We expect this to be broadly available over the coming weeks.”
November 2021 has been an action-packed month when it comes to updates; there were three. November 2021 Core Update followed by Local Search Update that also coincided with Local Interface Update. Google really did go all out, it seems.
Why Local Search Update is so important?
When it comes to gaining better visibility in the local search results, it is important that you follow Google’s guidelines on how to improve your local rankings on Google. As per Google’s documentation, “When someone searches for a business or place near their location, they’ll find local results across Google in places like Maps and Search. For example, you can probably find local results if you search for “Italian restaurant” from your mobile device. We try to show you the kind of nearby restaurant that you’d like to visit. To improve your business’s local ranking, use Google Business Profile to claim and update your business information.”
If your business doesn’t show up in the relevant searches in your area, you can ensure your business information in the business profile is complete, accurate, as well as engaging. These include entering complete data, verifying your locations, keeping your hours accurate, managing and responding to reviews, and last but not the least, adding photos.
Google determines local rankings by judging a website primarily on three parameters: Relevance, Distance, and Prominence. “A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search. For example, our algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.”
If the ranking of your business profile has changed, it’s time to review all of the above as soon as possible.