In the first episode of 2022, we share the details about Google’s recent Vicinity Update. The first major update to the local algorithm in several years, it looks like several signals have been updated in a big way. Check out the video for all the details.
Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. It’s the first episode of 2022, and to go along with the new year, we’ve got a new Google update…
So much for a slow start to the year, right? A few weeks before Christmas, there was a lot of chatter in the Local SEO sphere about ranking changes, and suddenly we had a new layout for the map pack. The team over at Sterling Sky named this update the “Vicinity update”, since it’s pretty apparent that the vicinity signal was dialed way up in the algorithm.
Let’s talk about the new mp pack changes first. For years, the map pack looked like this:
A rectangular map with the search results directly underneath. Now, the map pack looks like this:
The map is square, and has been moved to the right side of the 3 results. The vertical space taken up by the pack is the same, but with the new layout, things are more spread out and easier to read, and the map is significantly bigger. And notice – these are both searches for “Ford dealer Dallas”, and in the new map, it’s more zoomed in on the northeastern edge of the Dallas area, since that’s where I’m searching from.
In fact, if you’ll notice, while the displayed area of the map is about three times larger, the actual local area shown in the map is about half of what showed in the old map pack for the same query.
This lines up with the changes in visibility everyone has seen after the update. The last big update to the local algorithm was the Possum update in 2016, which really dialed up the proximity factor in search results. It looks like the new Vicinity update did the same thing – another dial-up of that real-world proximity factor.
It also looks like Google finally nerfed the weight of keywords in your Google Business Profile name. For a long time, if you had keywords in your business name, it was an incredibly overpowered ranking signal in the map pack, and that seems to have gone away.
Joy Hawkins wrote a great post explaining everything about the update over on the Sterling Sky blog. You can read the full post at bit.ly/vicinity-update.
That’s all the time we’ve got for today, so you know what that means.
Put your hand on the screen right here:
We totally just high-fived ‘cause you learned something awesome. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.