How does Google’s Vicinity Update affect your 2022 Local SEO Strategy?
Google announced the Vicinity Update recently, which was completely focused on the local search and map pack results, and it started on November the 30th and ended on December 8th. We at Perfect Link Building noticed through our users that Google has now made it so that smaller businesses that may be less established, but are geographically closer to the users, are now ranking higher than established businesses that are further away. This major update has brought on a variety of changes, and we’ve outlined what they are, and how they can affect you.
What is the Vicinity Update?
This update was named after the fact that it targets proximity as a ranking factor. Proximity has been a ranking factor for a long time, but Google’s latest update has added more importance to it. We can now see that the new and improved algorithm has altered things to make sure that local search results are naturally more relevant to the user. This means that businesses that have been currently showing up in map results might not show up after the update. This has impacted the amount of traffic that businesses, even established ones, have been getting these past few years. By localizing local searches, the Vicinity update affects businesses in different ways. We’ve outlined some of them below
Who it affects positively:
With this update, there are definite winners. These include:
- Small businesses that rely on purely localized searches. This includes brick and mortar retailers.
- Businesses that don’t have relevant keywords in their business names but are in close proximity to the users.
- Secondary locations for established businesses. These can be franchises or secondary offices.
Who it affects negatively:
With new updates, there are always winners and losers. Unfortunately, the following businesses might see negative repercussions:
- Businesses that have very few branches and are located far away from users.
- Established businesses that provide the same services as closer, less established companies, in a more local setting.
- Businesses that used keywords in their names to get ranked in Google Maps even if they were not in close proximity to the users.
How to Build your 2022 Local Search Campaign
In order to keep up with this new update, there are a few things that businesses can do. Keep in mind, Google’s three ranking factors: relevance, distance and prominence are still the most important, but if you want to further boost your local search visibility, you should do the following:
- Keep all your data up to date. This includes entering all your data pertinent to visitors, as well as your location, opening hours and images.
- Manage and respond to reviews. Yes, even the bad ones. This is useful as it shows people, real people who have enjoyed your business, and also gives visitors a guide as to how you handle criticism.
- Proximity is more important. Ensure that your services are marketed with a hyper localised focus.
- Keyword saturation is not helpful. Businesses that have used keyword-rich names or overused keywords will see a drop in local SEO, as search engines now feature a more balanced list of names that don’t need as many keywords.
Although search engine updates can make you feel like you don’t have much control over the online world, it’s important to know that this algorithm change is a positive development. It helps level the playing field and puts hyper-local businesses above larger businesses who used their high marketing budgets to rank higher, as well as fighting against the spam listings and keyword stuffing that was unfairly influencing rankings. It shows how much Google commits to rewarding quality and relevance for enhanced user experience and allows local businesses to have a better chance.
Need Help? We’re right here
We believe that understanding how to alter or restructure your SEO strategy in the midst of a world full of ever-changing algorithms can be a complex and time-consuming process. This is something that we understand can be overwhelming, and that’s why we, at Perfect Link Building, can help you understand the ins and outs of incoming SEO trends and how they affect your rankings. We can then help you tweak your marketing online as required to help your business move in the right direction as the year progresses.
Our White Label SEO & link building support has helped several companies stay ahead of the competition and achieve unmatched revenue growth. Contact us anytime if you need anything relating to Google or its updates.