September has been a busy month for SEOs and site owners due to Google updates such as the helpful content update, which is still rolling out and will take two weeks to fully roll out, and what appears to be a possible local search ranking update on September 7.
What Are Others Saying?
At the Local Search Forum, SEOs confirmed the movement in search results. On September 7, many service area businesses were concerned about fluctuations in their local search ranking.
It’s always changing. Yes, Google’s search results are constantly changing as new pages are added to the index, new signals are refreshed, and thousands of changes are made each year.
We are aware of this, but it is unusual to see such a significant increase in both SEO community chatter and rank-checking tools.
Rank-checking software. Here are some screenshots from well-known rank-checking applications. The tool providers have stated that changes to the user interface or the featured snippet deduplication do not affect their ranking. While some believe that the featured snippet deduplication or a user interface change is the result of these tools displaying rank fluctuations, this does not appear to be the case.
Google’s search algorithm is updated 500-600 times per year. While the majority of these changes have no discernible impact, Google occasionally releases significant updates, such as Penguin and Panda, which significantly alter search results.
Knowing when Google updates will be released can assist marketing experts interested in SEO in explaining changes in rankings and organic site traffic, as well as developing search engine optimization strategies.
Why should you be concerned?
An unconfirmed and unannounced Google update is akin to having a visitor come over on a Sunday when you’re wearing shorts and doesn’t want to be disturbed. However, it is unclear whether the web and local search updates were related to the product review updates, but it could be a quality change Google made to impact indexing.
It is recommended that you check your traffic, ranking, and everything Google-related and cross your fingers that you did well with this unannounced intruder, er, update. This is a friendly reminder to not overlook the page experience rollout. To find out when the updated page experience will be available, read this post.
What’s Next – Handling This Update
Google has not officially announced the local search ranking update, nor has it made any comments about it. There are no formal guidelines for the update. And, if your site’s ranking in local search results has dropped, it’s worth checking to see if your organic ranking has also dropped or if it’s just the local pack rankings that have dropped. If your local rankings are suffering as a result of this local update, you can use our Local SEO guide to identify areas for improvement.