Google's SEO update was to diversify local search results and also lower spam rankings.
1. Nonprofit's that fall outside of the physical city limits saw a huge spike in ranking.
Previously, if a business fell outside the physical city limits for a particular city, they would have a difficult time ranking for any keywords that include that city name. These businesses often don’t even fall into a city “technically,” according to Google Maps.
After this update, many businesses like this saw increases in their local ranking.
2. Google is now filtering based on address and affiliation.
Nonprofit's are filtered out due to having the same address of another business at the same location.
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3. The physical location of the searcher is more important than it was before.
It's more important than ever to make sure the searcher location is set to the right city when tracking ranking. A tool that allows you to do that is this one by Bright Local.
4. Search results vary more based on slight variations of the keyword searched.
There seems to be more fluctuation between similar keywords. In some cases, queries appeared back in the local results if you added the state abbreviation to the keyword.
5. The local filter seems to be running more independently from the organic filter.
Nonprofit's that rank very high for competitive terms that are linking to pages that are filtered organically.
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Read the full article at: searchengineland.com