Google’s back at it with another algorithm update, but this time it’s causing some confusion when it comes to local search listings for businesses.
It’s safe to say that this is the biggest local algorithm change since the 2016 Possum update, but there has been some back and forth on how this update is affecting business listings.
Although the Bedlam update is causing an uproar right now, we think this algorithm update is a positive change and business owners will see better results for their listings.
What Does the Bedlam Algorithm Update Entail?
The Bedlam update hasn’t been officially announced by Google yet, but Google My Business Product Expert Joy Hawkins noticed a change and saw client ranking had majorly shifted.
At first, we thought the Bedlam update was similar to Possum in regards to proximity. However, the focus has shifted to relevance when it comes to local results in Google.
In the past, choosing categories could either hurt or help your ranking. With the Bedlam update, we are seeing a change to how businesses are ranked based on those categories.
Overall, Google has shifted to understand a broader set of search terms when they relate to a specific business. This means you aren't limited to your primary category!
With the relevance update, though, proximity has been affected, but you shouldn't think of this as a negative thing.
Because search results for businesses are becoming even more localized, this allows you to have a more focused base of consumers.
Instead of looking at a map and noticing where your business doesn't appear, think about how it eliminates your competition from your base of consumers. Your business owns that specific territory and your competition 20 miles away owns that territory.
However, the Bedlam update hasn't all been sunshine and rainbows.
When the update was first released in early November, some businesses completely fell off the local search rankings and their organic rankings plummeted.
Since then, Google has made adjustments and most things have gone back to “normal.” Now that the adjustments have been completed, the process for how rankings appear are here to stay.
What Does Google’s Bedlam Update Mean for Your Business?
With this update in effect, this means that your business needs to be on top of your local search strategy.
Appearing in the local pack section of the search results is key for local businesses. In turn, your business’s website must be locally optimized so consumers can easily find you online.
Having great reviews and consistent business information can also help with your local search ranking. If you didn’t already know, 80 percent of all searches on Google are locally focused.
Incorporating paid advertising into your digital marketing strategy can also help you reach people at the right place and the right time.
Algorithm updates can be nerve-racking if it affects your business listing. Keep in mind that you should never make rash changes to your digital marketing strategy because of an update.
It’s important to monitor the update to see how it’s affecting your business and if there will be any tweaks along the way.
Responding to an update with changes immediately can actually put you in a worse position. You don't always know right away if the change even impacted you, and Google may continue to make changes for a few days.
Keep an eye on it, read what others are observing and start making changes after your data seems to have stopped wildly fluctuating.
At RevLocal, our team is on the lookout for any changes that may affect our clients. We can handle all your digital marketing needs so you can focus on taking care of your business.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about our services, click here to set up an appointment with a digital marketing expert.