Google’s biggest update in the last five years is creating a big commotion among the SEO community. Businesses with keyword-rich names are seeing big drops in their SERPs, making the whole situation kind of confusing. Google began with the update on November 30th and it is now fully rolled out.
“It involved a rebalancing of various factors we consider in generating local search results.” – Google said on Twitter. Judging by the tweets, Google didn’t expect the update to have such a big impact on businesses, which is why we weren’t notified before its launching.
What is going on?
The update, now called Vicinity – might have something to do with proximity and also be in tune with Google moving the local pack results higher and the map to the right. According to Mike Blumenthal, the new shape of the map (now it’s a square) could be making Google’s viewpoint different. In other words, Google might be focusing on new things now because of the shape and size of the map. Along with this change, the update also came with “inflation” in the world of keywords – it looks like the more is not the merrier anymore, judging by the fact that ranking numbers of keyword-rich businesses are plunging.
Sterlingsky.ca showed us the update’s impact in numbers. In some cases, the update fixed a few illogicalities among businesses. For example, a law company focusing on dog bites losing all one-boxes for dog bite terms seems rational since it is most likely not the only law company handling dog bites. But, a law company with a keyword-rich name losing 75% of its rankings while another one with no keywords going from 1 to 132 is a bit strange.
The takeaway? It looks like it doesn’t matter if the name of your business has a bunch of keywords, or if your website content is specific to your industry – you might still be facing a decrease in rankings.