More threads by HoosierBuff

Dec 12, 2013
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Hey All,

I use a rank tracking tool that tracks rank by zip code, so, I enter a "local term" like 'lawyer near me' and enter a zip code and I get my reading.

I feel like this months reports have changed considerably for a few of my clients with no real impact on traffic. I've become suspicious that perhaps Google is interpreting zip codes differently than before - like putting the centroid in a different place. (I mean it couldn't be that my clients ranked dropped, I'm an excellent SEO!).

Has anyone noticed this? I didn't really think about it before, but, a zip code can be a pretty good sized area, and changing where you land on that zip code could have a big impact on the results that a user sees.
No Comments on this, so I'm assuming that I'm in the minority here.

It does look like the centroid has changed on these zip code searches, but, I can't tell if their was an algo shakeup that caused the centroid to shift, or, if the centroid shifted because of the algo/rankings changes.

Hypothesis 1: Google moved where they consider the Center on searches based on zipcode. Evidence: ranking decline for some searches, with no actual change in traffic, or noticeable different in the not-so-reliable Google Search Console data. This makes some sense, searching by zip code is not how most people search, so, if there was a change in the way google treats zip code searches, it wouldn't show up in traffic data

Hypothesis 2: There was a ranking change for these 2-3 clients, and I'm just in denial. This is possible, one is a personal injury law firm, and that is competitive. The weird thing is, they actually improved for the non-map part of the searches, which would be unusual (but not impossible).

So - anyone else notice anything with zip code searches?
There was a big algorithm update on March 9 that definitely changed quite a few things. Not sure if this explains what you're describing though since you posted before March 9.
Yeah, I read your article Joy, and it was great. . . . .I'm really hoping for even more info on this.

I first noticed this prior to the march 9th (like the end of February), so, I don't think this coincides, unless I was somehow hitting a server that had rolled out the change early (I highly doubt this is true).
What ranking software are you using? We use Bright Local and I haven't had any issues recently. When you click to go to the search results page, you can see the zip code at the very bottom of the page. If you aren't seeing anything there, it might mean the software has an issue.
There also was an algorithm update at the end of Feb (20th) that only impacted one business I work with but it's possible that caused something to change.

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