Welcome back to the Local Search Roundup! This month, we’re taking a look back at the biggest local search stories from December 2022. So, what’s been going on?
Well, if you didn’t think Google would let us all rest over the holiday period, turns out it actually kind of did. The announcement that its Helpful Content Update would be delayed was welcome news for some, albeit slightly frustrating for those waiting for the rollout to be done … and waiting. As far as other updates are concerned, it was a quieter month in all.
What’s new with Google Updates?
Google begins rolling out another iteration of the Helpful Content Update
After an initial launch midway through 2022, the Helpful Content Update got a refresh. The global algorithm update aims to help searchers find useful content by promoting more helpful websites and content. Initially predicted to take several weeks to roll out, Google confirmed an extension was taking place, before a slight pause in the holiday period. The pause of the holidays has now ended.
December 2022 Link Spam Update rolls out
Initially expected to take a couple of weeks to roll out in December, Google has confirmed that its Link Spam Update is also rolling into January… so keep an eye on any ranking fluctuations.
After everyone finally got used to E-A-T and what it meant for local content, Google decided to update it with an extra E. The concept of E-E-A-T marks a significant update to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, introducing ‘Experience’ as a key indicator of trustworthiness.
Refined search capabilities rolling out on mobile
After months of testing and a feature at Search On, Google is rolling out topic filters at the top of some search results pages. Using “dinner ideas” as an example, users can narrow down their results with filters such as “vegetarian” or “healthy” and find more relevant content.
Latest Updates to Google Business Profile
A bug affecting photo and logo uploads
Another day, another Google Business Profile (GBP) bug! It seems mostly newly verified businesses were having issues being able to upload photos and logos to business profiles. This was resolved around a week later.
Disclaimers added to appointment providers
Business profiles with associated appointment providers now have a disclaimer, reading: “providers are listed in random order.” —however, this can be expanded to explain that if the business does have a preference, then this provider will be displayed first.
Option to download your Google Business Profile when removing a listing
When users navigate to the option to remove a GBP listing, they can now ‘Download content’ to save their listing data.
…but they made it a little too easy to delete your GBP altogether
It was noted by Claudia T on Twitter that the option to permanently delete your GBP was possibly a little bit, well, reckless.
From what I understand there is no way to reverse it. Only owners can remove the business.
— ClaudiaT (@ClaudiaTomina) December 15, 2022
Photos added to GBP are now marked as ‘pending’
Notices have been spotted on images added to Google Business Profiles to reflect that they are pending approval.
Services now showing on GBPs via desktop
An expandable list of services can now be seen on Business Profiles when using a desktop interface. Where categories are limited, this update is helpful for local businesses as they can be more visible to prospective customers.
NMX allows custom maps to be created for websites
The new in-search editing interface now allows users to pick a design and show a custom Google map on their websites – this is particularly useful for businesses with multiple locations.
Latest in Reviews News
Studying the influence of review count on conversion
SOCi’s State of Google Reviews report examined the Google profiles of 31,000 chain and franchise businesses to measure the influence of review count on conversion, further highlighting the importance of actively working on your business review profile.
What do we know about the new Reviews algorithm?
Following the chaotic bug causing the removal of GBPs in November, Mike Blumenthal of NearMedia examines the new review filter. Findings show their benefits but, as we know, there have been cases of false positives and plenty of confusion, too.
Local Guides Do Matter!
A case study by Joy Hawkins has found that business reviews by Google Local Guides stay at the top of reviews for longer, as do those from reviewers with profile photos.
BrightLocal releases first Local Marketing Confidence Survey
As well as a generally positive outlook for marketers in 2023, we delve into some of the biggest challenges agencies and consultants face with winning new clients.
You can read the full findings, key insights, and recommendations of the Local Marketing Confidence Survey here.
What does Continuous Scrolling mean for advertisers?
Continuous results scrolling has been confirmed as rolled out on desktop. But what does this mean for ads? Advertisers may see higher impressions and a lower CTR on Search, Shopping, and Local Ads, says Search Engine Land.
For the very latest in local SEO, updates Google Business Profile, and more, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled on our Twitter account!