Local SEO experts have been noticing major changes in the local search results, leading to speculation that Google have updated their local search ranking factors. These changes appear to have altered how local results rank in both Google Maps and the local packs on the SERPs.
In a blog post, Mike Blumenthal reported a number of problems seen with location results. First of all, the location setting option in Google organic search began having trouble recognising locations (this is fixed now). Then, strange results began appearing in the local pack results with local results reflecting your settings but organic results reflecting your browser location.
There are also reportedly more national organic results and less localised organic results showing.
There has been speculation around the update being related to the recent Google Maps Googlebomb fix, after problems with offensive Google Maps Listings.
This speculation is rife across the community, with Barry Schwartz commenting “I find it hard to believe it is not around the change Google made for the Google Maps bomb.” And “It seems like something went wrong with location detection and ranking of local results. It is almost believed to be a bug with Google’s location detection systems. But it is awkwardly around the same time of the Googlebomb fix.”
The changes appear to have happened after Google’s apology regarding the Googlebomb fix, so this would make sense, especially with Google saying “We’ve started to update our ranking system to address the majority of these searches—this will gradually roll out globally and we’ll continue to refine our systems over time.” of the matter.
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