Google confirmed that they implemented a new local search update between the end of November 2021 and the 8th December 2021 that caused widespread changes to local search results during this time.
Google confirmed via the Google Search Central account what many local SEO professionals have suspected over the last two weeks – that there has been a rebalancing of the factors being used to rank 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: (link to “How to improve your local ranking on Google” document)
The update to local search confirmed what we have been seeing in third party tools over the last two weeks:
The December 2021 Local SEO algorithm update has left SEO professionals scratching their heads over the last two weeks in anticipation of an update. While Google does their best to keep the community abreast of any major updates, it is difficult to stay on top of all updates with the frequency at which they are currently being pushed out.
Google’s advice for local SEO remains the same
Google have (as always) reminded SEOs and webmasters to refer to the “How to improve your local ranking on Google” document that is supplied under “Google Business Profile”. Local search results continue to be based on three key quality determinants including relevance, distance, and prominence. Google uses a combination of these three factors to determine local search rankings.
Local SEO Update Insights from an Safari Digital
As an SEO Agency, we manage a large number of local SEO campaigns. We have seen widespread fluctuations in “location” pages over the last two weeks that correlate with the Google local search update December 2021. These are pages that are created for service-based businesses that are able to travel to different areas around Australia or different suburbs within a single metro.
Over the past fortnight, we have seen sites such as Hi Pages, Service Seeking, and Clutch perform well over the last two weeks with a number of smaller businesses losing ground in the search results. We will continue to investigate the root cause of the changes and determine which of Google’s local metrics (relevance, distance, and prominence) seems to be the factor pushing these changes. Based on these websites that have performed well through this update, it is possible that the ranking factor of “prominence” has received an extra boost in determining local search rankings.