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Roses, Chocolate, and Ranking Fluctuations – Google Rolls Out Valentines Day Local Update

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News

Latest Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update Impacting Local Rankings

Google sure knows how to keep us on our toes. After last week’s massive update, it appears as if another algorithm update has been rolling in, this time affecting local rankings such as local business listings in the Google local packs and Google Maps results. According to Search Engine Roundtable, the rollout appears to have began on February 14th, because nothing says I love you like intense ranking fluctuations accompanying your romantic Valentines Day dinner. https://twitter.com/loomdigital/status/1230090809682337792 But just like last time, Google has yet to officially confirm that an update has taken place. So, how do we know an update is rolling out? Search Engine Roundtable cited chatter within the local SEO community along with fluctuations being reported by the BrightLocal Local Rankflux tool as indicators for an algorithm update. The BrightLocal tool tracks daily ranking movements across 14,000+ keywords and helps to measure volatility and pick up on any suspected algorithm updates. Here is what the tool has been reporting up until today: Brightlocal tool showing ranking fluctuations Source: BrightLocal What this shows is some pretty big fluctuations in rankings for local results in Google Search starting on February 14th and continuing through until today. It should be noted that this update is separate from the other big algorithm update we reported on last week. However, it could be related to another previous local update from last week. On February 11th, Search Engine Roundtable had reported about another update that took place the week prior that had also affected rankings. Here’s what The BrightLocal Local Rank Flux chart was showing around that time: BrightLocal tool ranking fluctuations up to February 8 Source: BrightLocal It’s important to mention that prior to this unconfirmed update, there hadn’t been a confirmed local update from Google since November 2019. And when Google finally did confirm that update, nearly a month had passed. So, it’s safe to say that you can stop holding your breath for now, because we likely won’t get much word, if any, from Google about the latest local update.

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Google Updates Algorithm to Support Victims of Slander, Privacy Violations

06/11/2021

Imagine searching your own name on Google, only to find yourself falsely accused of malicious claims on websites with domains like ‘BadGirlReport.date,’ and ‘PredatorsAlert.us.’ You ask the site to remove your name, but its owners demand that you pay a fee to restore your reputation.

This is a common scamming technique found all over the web. Fortunately, Google is finally cracking down on it.

The New York Times reported that Google is changing its algorithms to ensure that these sites are less likely to perform well on SERPs. These sites, which accuse strangers of cheating, stealing, and even sex crimes, typically use SEO tactics to rank high – but these efforts will be nullified if Google’s changes are effective.

Specifically, Google will allow users to report that they are victims of these sites. Google will then remove similar content with their name from SERPs – this feature is called ‘known victims,’ and will also help people whose nude photos have been published to the internet without their consent.

“I doubt it will be a perfect solution, certainly not right off the bat. But I think it really should have a significant and positive impact,” said Google’s David Graff, the company’s vice president for global policy and standards and trust and safety. “We can’t police the web, but we can be responsible citizens.”

The New York Times calls this “a momentous shift for victims of online slander,” saying that Google “has historically resisted having human judgement play a role in its search engine.”

In fact, the search engine initially rejected requests to block nude photos that were posted without consent in 2011.

A story from the European Union made waves around the world in 2014 when the ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ was inducted into the General Data Protection Regulation. This would allow users to request the removal  of certain aspects of their personal data from the internet.

North America does not have similar laws – but with Google’s latest changes, we may anticipate a shift in how individual reputations are managed on the web.

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Core Update Did Not Include Second Product Review Update

06/10/2021

For those who have been wondering whether another Product Reviews Update was rolled into last week’s core update – the answer is a big fat no, according to Google.

The question came up on Twitter this week when SEO consultant Glenn Gabe asked Google’s public search liaison, Danny Sullivan, whether Google launched another Product Reviews Update similar to the one rolled out back in April.

READ MORE: Google Rolls Out New Product Reviews Update

“Do you know if there was a refresh of the Product Reviews Update (maybe when the June broad core update rolled out)?” asked Gabe. “I’m seeing sites impacted by the PRU w/a lot of movement during the June core update. Or is this just from the June core update? Thx for any info!”

Sullivan stated that any changes related to product reviews were “almost certainly” caused by the Core Update, not another product review update.

So, even though the product review update took longer than expected to fully roll out, it did, in fact, eventually complete its rollout back in April.

Sullivan’s confirmation makes sense because, like any other website, product review sites are bound to be impacted by something as huge as a core update.

Alas, SEOs can sleep easy knowing there haven’t been any other surprise curve balls being thrown by Google – yet. Google always has a way of keeping us on our toes, though, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for any impending changes that could affect your rankings.

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