Google has confirmed that it ran a local search ranking update between November 30th and December 8th — it is calling the November 2021 local search update. Google said this update was about “rebalancing of various factors we consider in generating local search results.”
Why we care. You may have noticed significant local ranking changes in the Google Maps and local pack results. This, along with the new local interface update, may have resulted in traffic changes to your business or client businesses.
So we now have confirmation from Google that there was both a major user interface change to the local pack results and a local ranking update around the same time.
The confirmation. Google confirmed this via Twitter:
Local SEOs called it. Yes, the local SEO community saw this and I believe that is why Google has confirmed it after the fact. I wrote a story about the local fluctuations recently, and we asked Google to confirm it after the story and now Google decided to confirm it, two weeks after it started to roll out and a week after it finished rolling out.
Here is Danny Sullivan of Google first saying he has nothing to confirm yet, and then confirming it later.
Timing. Keep in mind the timing: Not only is this right before the holidays, which we wrote about before, but we also had a November 2021 core update finish rolling out on November 30th and a December product reviews update start to roll out December 1st.
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Other Google updates this year. This year we had a number of confirmed updates from Google and many that were not confirmed . In the most recent order, we had: The July 2021 core update, Google MUM rolled out in June for COVID names and was lightly expanded for some features in September (but MUM is unrelated to core updates). Then, the June 28 spam update, the June 23rd spam update, the Google page experience update, the Google predator algorithm update, the June 2021 core update, the July 2021 core update, the July link spam update, and the November spam update rounded out the confirmed updates. We also had the December 2021 product reviews update on December 1st.
Previous core updates. The most recent previous core update was the November 2021 core update which rolled out hard and fast, then the July 2021 core update which was quick to roll out (kind of like this one) followed by the June 2021 core update and that update was slow to roll out but a big one. Then we had the December 2020 core update and the December update was very big, bigger than the May 2020 core update, and that update was also big and broad and took a couple of weeks to fully roll out. Before that was the January 2020 core update, we had some analysis on that update over here. The one prior to that was the September 2019 core update. That update felt weaker to many SEOs and webmasters, as many said it didn’t have as big of an impact as previous core updates. Google also released an update in November, but that one was specific to local rankings. You can read more about past Google updates over here.
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