Google has made some major change in its algorithm. Experiments conducted by David Whitehouse, an SEO consultant, indicate that the changes have led to significant ups and downs in search results. The experiment included keywords like web design, news and SEO.
When searches were conducted for the keywords, the top ranking national firms appeared on the first to fourth positions, while the rest of the page was made up by local companies. Occasionally the 9th and the 10th positions are also taken up by national companies. The pattern persisted even in case of non-personalized searches conducted after eliminating cookies. Dave’s observations either mean that the search giant is testing a specific industry (in which case SEO industry seems like a strange choice) or they point to the future of map-less local integration.
Google’s Inside Search Blog announced as many as 40 changes on the 27th of February. The decreased dependence on citations was one of the major changes. This means that for the top rank on local search, you will have to relay more on quality content from now on. Overall, the changes mainly addressed the relationship between ‘regular’ and local search results.
Google is not the only search engine focusing on the local. Activity on this front has been observed on Bing as well. Bing’s updated local SERP layout resembles Google’s blended local search launched in 2010 October. In any case, the local front is something that online marketers and website owners need to look out for.