I’ve spent the last few weeks analyzing dozens of sites in depth, diving into ranking charts and before-and-after screen shots to see exactly what changed with this recent update. Below are the top six things I’ve noticed as a result of the update.
Keep in mind these are observations based on my audits and findings. Since I only analyzed sites optimized for local SEO, these findings are very specific to local businesses or sites ranking for local terms such as “plumber Seattle.”
I was careful to only include items I saw multiple times across numerous sites and industries I analyzed. I try to give examples to help illustrate my points but wanted to make it clear there were tons of similar examples in my findings that showed the same thing.
1. This update was not related to links
As far as we can tell, this update was related to on-site content quality more than backlinks. We have a new client of two months who saw an increase organically across almost every keyword we are tracking. All the work done so far on his site has been related to improving content quality — no links were built.
2. Keyword impact
In the local search world, it is hard to get a business to rank in the 3-pack in a surrounding city, but it is sometimes possible.
We work with a company in a suburb of a large city. Let’s say they’re in Addison, Texas, but they get all their customers from Dallas (They’re not, but it’s a similar scenario). With this update, the majority of keywords we were tracking that used [keyword + Dallas] increased, even though his location is in Addison (the suburb of Dallas).
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