This past week data surfaced which revealed strong evidence that there was a Google algorithm update in June. Also, some useful new search features have been added to Google, and a study came out revealing the top local SEO ranking factors for 2016.
Full details about each of these top stories will be covered in this week’s SEO news roundup.
Possible Google Algorithm Update in June
Glenn Gabe at G-Squared Interactive published a study this week presenting strong evidence that a Google algorithm update took place in the month of June. During the month there was major volatility in search results — some sites saw significant boosts in rankings while others suffered substantial drops.
June 1, 8, 21, and 26 are the dates where the most volatility was seen, suggesting that the update was launched at the beginning of the month and continued to roll out until the end of the month. If you’re concerned whether or not your site has been affected by the update, those are the dates to check in Google Analytics for any major changes in organic traffic.
According to Gabe’s data, the update appears to be related to content quality and overall user experience. Sites that suffered the worst drops had issues with having thin content, content that was too generic, and aggressive amounts of advertising. Sites that have made efforts to improve the quality of content ended up seeing noticeable boosts in rankings.
Top Local SEO Ranking Factors for 2016
It was a big week for studies, with another one coming out this week full of the most up-to-date information about local SEO ranking factors. Local SEO Guide put together the study with the assistance of The University of California Irvine’s Center for Statistical Consulting. Here is a summary of the findings:
- Links: Unsurprisingly, the study concludes that “links are the key competitive differentiator even when it comes to Google My Business (GMB) Rankings”.
- Website Signals: Traditional SEO ranking signals from a business’s website proved to be likely to influence the ranking of that business’s GMB page.
- GMB Signals: Signals within a business’s GMB page itself were found to be among the top ranking factors. These include signals such as reviews, photos, and having the page associated with an Owner Verified profile.
- Toolbar PageRank: The study found that there was a strong correlation between a high PageRank score and high ranking local pages. This is especially interesting considering Google recently declared Toolbar PageRank was dead, so this shows that the search giant could still be using the data internally.
At the end of the day, what’s really most important for local SEO in 2016 are links and a well-optimized website:
”When it comes to Local SEO in 2016, if you are not invested in links and your website, and instead focus predominantly on traditional Local SEO areas like Google My Business and citations then you are going to be at a competitive disadvantage.”
New Google Search Features
Some useful new updates have recently been integrated into Google search. Here is a quick rundown of each of them.
- Song Lyrics: Google will now display song lyrics directly on the front page of search results when the name of a song is searched for.
- Internet Speed Test: Google has integrated a speed testing tool with which you can simply type something like “test internet speed” into the search bar and Google will return the result directly on the front page.
- Earthquake Information: If an earthquake occurs in your area, you can quickly search for “earthquake” and Google will return timely information about the quake you just felt.
A Google algorithm update was likely to have occurred in June, the latest data about local SEO ranking factors has been revealed, and some interesting new features have been integrated into Google search. If you have any questions about this week’s headlines, please leave us a comment below.