Jason_Parks1

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I don't think we're seeing that, really.
Hey Tim, I just wanted to clarify in the Swapasauarus article I wrote (view here) I never stated that the #1 position isn't changing and the #2 and #3 position are the only ones swapping out. The point I was trying to make is that there's constant swapping taking place. I am seeing much less volatility for the #1 ranked local listings than #2 and #3 though. Also, swapping, dropping, moving in and out are all the same thing. The point I'm trying to make is that it could be the new norm that more than three businesses rotate in and out of the local pack.
 

Jason_Parks1

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I can't say I'm seeing that precise pattern - and even in the "Swapasaurus" article, his second example doesn't quite match that pattern either.

However, I really wonder if he's on the right track about this being the new normal, rather than a long algorithm update. Algorithms don't usually take this long to roll out - am I correct?

Some possibilities:
  • The local algorithm is now more reliant on signals that vary considerably from day to day
  • The local algorithm is running a lot more extreme tests
  • It's not an update at all, it's something going haywire in Google's infrastructure. (Though if that were the case, you'd think they'd have fixed it by now.)
I might be way off base here, but it's worth considering.
Hi Matt,

Thanks so much for checking out the article. A couple of points I want to clarify. I never stated that the #1 position isn't changing. I stated the following: "The company that’s ranking #1 in Google’s map rankings hasn’t experienced nearly as much nearly as much volatility as position 2 and 3." This seems to have been misinterpreted at some point that position 1 isn't changing or swapping out, that's not the case. But position #1 in the local pack has been much more steady than position 2 and 3 from the data I've been monitoring. My theory and the point I was trying to prove is that the constant swapping in and out of the local pack could just be the new norm. It just doesn't make sense to me how Google could be rolling out an algorithm that's lasted more than a month.
 

Jason_Parks1

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Hi. This is my first post here. I'm a new user, and it's really nice to meet you all. I'm writing from Brazil and I found you guys exactly because I was searching for an explanation about this volatility thing that's spread all over the gmb structure. The same thing is happening here in this part of the world, with many spam listings taking the first positions on the map. Just for the record, however, I saw a change today with no spams hitting the top, but of course it's still too early to say if that's already settled or not.
Fabiano, That's great news that you saw a change with no spam hitting the local results. With all of the fluctuation, the discouraging part has been that spam continues to populate in the local pack. Hopefully this gets sorted out soon. If my "Swapasaurus" theory ends up being correct, it would be nice for the businesses swapping/rotating in and out of the local results to be legitimate businesses.
 

Jason_Parks1

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Joy I didn't see this article but was starting to theorize this. Either the algo is still updating, or the new algo may be where there is a rotation. I have a client that was #1 then dropped out then back to #1 then has dropped out again...
You are experiencing the swapping/rotating in and out of the local results that so many of our clients are seeing. For the first three weeks I figured we were just in the midst of an algorithm update. Now that we're a month into it, I'm starting to believe this could be the new norm, hence my Swapasauarus theory. The only thing that doesn't make sense to me is that spam is still fairly prominent and there's heavy favoritism towards businesses with keywords in GMB titles, resulting in more spam... One other interesting trend I've noticed is that when there's massive fluctuation taking place with businesses swapping in and out of local pack, if you expand the map results, you'll often find duplicate GMB listings (see below from this Orlando PI search I conducted). The next time your business swaps out of the top three results, be on the lookout for this. Once the business that drops out of local pack retains its original rankings and returns, the glitch seems to disappear.

IMG_2480.jpg
 

Tim Colling

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For now, the main thing that anyone seems to be able to say is that they don't know what is happening with local pack results.

So, we have an environment in which Google is either accidentally, or intentionally, creating FUD.

When you are fearful, you look for ways to protect yourself. So, what can you do? Buy Google PPC ads?

It would be very interesting to know if there is an increase in Google's PPC ad revenue as a result of all this. Or, as another thing to be curious about, is this the precursor to the start of a pay-to-play fee setup for GMB listings.

I know, that probably sounds a bit suspicious and cynical. Oh well.

giphy.gif
 

Fabiano

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Fabiano, That's great news that you saw a change with no spam hitting the local results. With all of the fluctuation, the discouraging part has been that spam continues to populate in the local pack. Hopefully this gets sorted out soon. If my "Swapasaurus" theory ends up being correct, it would be nice for the businesses swapping/rotating in and out of the local results to be legitimate businesses.
Unfortunatelly I saw some spam hits yesterday and today. What worries me now is how consistent one's work as a GMB manager can be to offer services to local businesses when one can not, by means of strategy or work, settle a business in the local pack just like before. If the new thing is a randomized merry-go-round philosophy, then selling the service will demand totally brand-new efforts.
 

Tim Colling

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... If the new thing is a randomized merry-go-round philosophy, then selling the service will demand totally brand-new efforts.

For example, brand-new efforts like focusing budget on Google PPC ad spending instead of SEO tactics(?)

I am increasingly suspicious that what we are experiencing is either:
  1. Google being incredibly clumsy with their ranking algorithms' QA, or else
  2. Google forcing everyone to spend most of their budget on PPC ads
 

Fabiano

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For example, brand-new efforts like focusing budget on Google PPC ad spending instead of SEO tactics(?)

I truly hope not. I'm still hopeful towards a change of tactis, but still within the SEO universe, although the PPC ads thing sounds like an actual possibility.
 

Fabiano

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The local pack now reminds me of the old orkut profile page. Those who had a chance to use it know that it used to display about 12 of your friends on a grid on the right side of the feed right above the display of the communities list, and they all would change positions from time to time whenever you refreshed the page. The friends list used to be updated according to people being online or not, while the list of communities changed like a regular forum, whenever there was a new post to a topic. So, if you always wanted to be on the grid of your friends page, you just had to be online more often and ongoingly than the other friends they had. Likewise, is it maybe possible that we come to find out some controllable SEO mechanism that could/would prevent businesses from dropping positions?
 

djbaxter

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It seems to me that until everything settles down it's premature to speculate. For one thing, this is probably not just one update. Google has acknowledged that there have been several minor and major updates in the past couple of weeks so it's conceivable that it's not all Bedlam.

Reminds me of the old days of the Google Dance, when Google would only push algorithm updates periodically and gradually to all their datacenters, and when that was happening sites would be up and down like a seesaw for a good few days or more.
 

WillSLV

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We are at approx. 3 weeks now of this update and still waiting. 2 local service business clients maps are going crazy. The top report is from 11/28 and bottom result is from today, 11/29. Loosing and gaining over 100 spots over night every few days doesn't make sense.

image1 (2).jpeg

nat1.jpg
 

loic

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Hi, I’m writing you from France (sorry for my english level). It’s my first post.

I have a small business in France (Financ’immo in Angers - mortgage Broker) and I also observed

the same problem : volatility with GMB listings (no major change with organic rank). I was n°1 for many keywords with GMB on google and google map (more than 40 photos, more than 150 true 5 stars, FAQ and post every day - no city name nor category in the name of my listing, …)

Right now, my listings are 14/15 depending on the weather (-) ).

Many of my competitors do no respect google guidelines : the city name or the category in the GMB title.


Yesterday, I decided to change the GMB title of one of my competitor : remove the city name and the category.

Google wrote me : your revision is under review but it will not change the position of this listing



So it seems that the title of the GMB listing is not a ranking factor.

Did you observed the same thing ?
Regards
PhD
 

PeteKernow

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My own rankings have gone from 2nd or 3rd to 10th or 11th between 1st November and 1st December. One competitor who is above me has no website link, only two reviews (one of which is a one-star review giving full details of how rubbish he is) and he's further from the city centre and much more recently established. I do everything that Google and SEO experts advise but still stuck with low rankings. They had improved suddenly after I got GMB to mark my old page as moved so my new address would regain ranking. But now they've dropped back down to worse than before I contacted Google.
 
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Hi Matt,

Thanks so much for checking out the article. A couple of points I want to clarify. I never stated that the #1 position isn't changing. I stated the following: "The company that’s ranking #1 in Google’s map rankings hasn’t experienced nearly as much nearly as much volatility as position 2 and 3." This seems to have been misinterpreted at some point that position 1 isn't changing or swapping out, that's not the case. But position #1 in the local pack has been much more steady than position 2 and 3 from the data I've been monitoring. My theory and the point I was trying to prove is that the constant swapping in and out of the local pack could just be the new norm. It just doesn't make sense to me how Google could be rolling out an algorithm that's lasted more than a month.

Hi Jason!

Thanks for taking the time to make that clarification - my bad for not reading carefully enough!

A month long algorithm update does seem quite odd to me. I'm curious, do you know anyone who keeps track of how long updates/roll-outs typically take? Or has Google given any official word on how long it takes?
 

djbaxter

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Don't assume that an update is just dropped out there and not tweaked. I suspect some of the recent updates (and there have been more than one in the past month) are still being tweaked and that some of the volatility people are seeing is due to those tweaks.
 

raellovepie

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I have 3 takeaways on this ATM:
  1. Neural Matching will show different results from users. My coworker in the same office can get a different result than me for doing the same search.
  2. Existing Local Ranking tools may not be as helpful as their results may not show real-world ranking.
  3. Keyword stuffing may not be as effective (but we will see...)
 

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