What Happened To Your Rankings? Google! Largest Local Algorithm Update In 5 Years Now Fully Rolled Out

author image Written by: Rabije Gashi Corluka           Categories - In The News, SEO

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.

Rabije Gashi Corluka

Desktop Getting A Page Experience Update


Back in November, Google confirmed it will be launching a new page experience update for desktop. The rollout is supposed to happen in February this year and is expected to last for about a month. That means we are hoping for a full rollout by the end of March.

The Google Desktop Page Experience Update will use the same factors as the mobile version – except, of course, the mobile-friendliness one. This update will not be applicable for desktop only, but tablets and laptops, too. It will include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
  • First Input Delay
  • HTTPS Security
  • Absence of intrusive interstitials

In case you forgot, safe browsing is no longer considered a part of the experience and is not a ranking signal anymore.

What Is Page Experience?

Page experience is a set of signals that measure how users are liking your website. It measures the loading time, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. It also includes existing search signals like the ones we mentioned above. However, page experience is not the only thing important for your rankings – content counts too.

Google Search Console

Google said they will update the Search Console to support desktop, too. That should launch before desktop becomes a ranking signal. Google search console helps you monitor your website traffic, optimize your ranking and make decisions about the appearance of your site’s results.


This update shouldn’t have much of an impact on your rankings, because it is designed to highlight pages that offer a great user experience. Page experience is just one of many factors Google takes into account when it comes to your ranking.  Still, it is important to stay in the loop, keep track of changes and monitor your metrics.


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Google Core Update Shakes Up Black Friday


As it does several times per year, Google launched a new Core Update last week and its effects are rocking the Holiday Shopping Season. We’ve never been given a lot of guidance on this topic, except for the article back in 2019 called What site owners should know about Google’s core updates, that had information about content quality evaluation and E-A-T – or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

This particular update was launched a week before Black Friday and it shook up the SEO community. Amsive Digital researched this topic and the results are outstanding.

The results of the analysis conducted show – among other things – a decrease in visibility for big news sites, such as reuters.com, while the visibility for shopping and eCommerce sites such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc., seriously increased. And just in time for Holiday shopping!

Another interesting thing to note is the declining visibility of the FDA site, after enjoying much of it last year with Covid-19 in full swing. According to the research, Google is currently giving more room for other health publishers and retailers, letting them rank better.

The update may have come at the right time for eCommerce and Shopping sites, but it’s important to remember this may be a short-term thing since it takes about a week or two for a full rollout.

Don’t delete the bad reviews

Speaking of the Holiday Season and Google, don’t delete bad reviews you might get for your customer service (not because you’re bad, but because – hopefully – you’ll have a lot of work and customers could wait longer for their presents 😉 ).

According to Google, you should value all reviews, for they can come in handy to potential customers when they’re honest and objective, and therefore – trustworthy.

Start with yourself – would you buy something if all the reviews were only good and not a single star was missing? Reply to your reviews, offer help and add more context and show potential customers you care.





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