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Google’s Still Messing with Local – How Does It Affect You?

Written by Kurt Steinbrueck

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Google LocalI mentioned a couple weeks back that Google had updated their local search system and that there was a good bit of turmoil because of it. Well, even weeks later, there still a lot of turmoil. Google seems to be continuing the change the system on the fly. Rankings keep bouncing around and people keep seeing different results.

In this month’s SEO update, I’ll discuss the changes Google has made, what results we’re seeing, and what this might mean for you. I’ll also tell you about some new developments at Bing and FourSquare. The video is a little longer than normal, but that’s because there’s a lot to talk about related to the Google local update.

(Update: Some of the recent comments coming out of Google indicate there may be a new Penguin update soon. I’ll keep you informed as this develops.)

“Hi, I’m Kurt Steinbrueck with and this is your
monthly SEO update…” For a full transcript, click here.

Tell us what you think?

  • What changes have you noticed in the Google local search results?
  • Do you use FourSquare? If so, what do you think of the changes they are making?
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About the author

Kurt Steinbrueck

Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .


  • Nice round-up of local search changes, Kurt – we've had more than a few stressful days and nights trying to figure out just what is going on. And, I think the search engines are too.

    Google has really been mixing things up – the type of pack changes almost daily. Some days it's a 3-pack, then other days, it's a 7-pack. We've also seen the results varying by device – desktop, tablets and mobile all come up different. In some cases, the results and ordering of listings in the local pack change throughout the day,

    You didn't mention the carousel that is showing up in certain searches instead of the local pack – hotels and restaurants are generally carousels now. Is there a threshold of results before the carousel shows up? There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

    I will be very disappointed if the local directories and citations start to float to the first page of results instead of the actual sites they list. Just another layer between the searcher and the answer to their quest.


    • Thanks Steve and thanks for your sharing your thoughts on this. Yeah, it's been crazy and really a lot more stressful than updates usually are. At least with other major updates, like Panda or Penguin, the dust is settling by now and it's pretty well known what happened. With Hummingbird, no one even noticed the change until Google pointed out a month later that they had done it.

      This time, the changes just keep fluctuating and everything is in chaos. Unfortunately, the only thing that does seem stable is the rise of the directories in the search results and the tightening of the geographic radius for the map results. Two changes I don't particularly care for.

      I didn't mention the switching around of the carousel because that change wasn't really showing up until after I had made the video (There's always a delay due to editing and having a transcript written up). Something tells me I'll still have plenty to talk about in the next update. (rolling eyes)

      We'll just have to keep watching…Google certainly isn't talking.

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