Posted By: Kyle Fagala
You may have noticed some significant changes in your local business search rankings lately. Google confirmed that they rolled out a new algorithm during the first week of December and has caused quite a stir in local rankings. The update is known as “Vicinity” because the biggest impact is related to proximity rankings. This is the biggest update to hit the scene since Possum, a local algorithm launched in 2016. So, what does the new Vicinity update mean for your small business? Let’s take a closer look!
What’s the Vicinity update all about?
Before this update, businesses could optimize to rank further away from their actual location. However, the Vicinity update appears to buckle down on this and make search results more relevant to the user. All of this means that local businesses will rank better since they won’t have to compete with farther away companies.
The Vicinity update has also affected keywords in a business name of a Google Business Profile. Data shows that businesses using keywords in their names have seen a drop in rankings since the update rolled out. If you’ve followed Google’s keyword guidelines, this is excellent news for your business’ visibility.
With this update, Google readjusted its algorithm so that smaller, lesser-known businesses closer to the user will rank higher than big-name businesses heavy on inappropriate keywords.
This update goes along with the updated map pack layout. Google has changed the format to feature a smaller square design that is more zoomed in and features more relevant businesses to a user’s search. This change has a positive effect on businesses dealing with name spam.
What does this mean for local business owners?
Google confirmed that the general guidelines for local businesses would remain the same with this link on improving local rankings. According to the guidelines, the new algorithm produces distance, prominence, and relevance results. This isn’t anything new, but there are a few things you can do to help boost your rankings within the new Vicinity update:
- Add photos
- Keep business hours updated
- Verify your locations
- Enter accurate data
These changes may seem small, but they can do big things for your business. If it seems overwhelming, that’s okay, too. We’re always happy to help you navigate the ever-changing world of SEO to maximize your online presence.
Who benefits from the Vicinity update?
The big winners in this update are businesses that do not feature keywords in their name while their competitors do. Secondary locations of bigger businesses have also seen an increase in rankings.
Businesses that were previously ranking far away from their offices are taking hits, while newer businesses are seeing an increase in their rankings due to relevancy and prominence. With this update, newer businesses and those who have followed Google’s guidelines will see benefits in their rankings.
Reap the benefits of Vicinity with Neon Canvas
Keeping up with the guidelines and algorithms of SEO can be a task, and when the guidelines change, having someone on your team can be a lifesaver. The team here at Neon Canvas would love to partner with you to maximize your SEO and boost your online presence.
If you’re ready to take the next step in optimizing your web presence, we would love to get connected! Contact our team today, and let’s get started!