Google My Business – Proximity Update
What Was the Proximity Update?
In late November of 2021 began what seems to have been a slow update affecting the reach of Google My Business (AKA Google Business Profiles) across the web that has been causing some waves for those dependent on Local SEO for lead generation. The general disruption of the update deals with how far a Google Business Profile can capture visibility from the address at which it is listed. For instance, if you ranked for a specific keyword across an area of 10 miles previously, Google has now restricted that reach to 3-5 miles. While those are not exact numbers, that is the general idea.
Why was the update a big deal?
So why is this a big deal? Many clients that are using Local SEO as a major arm for lead generation have seen their lead flow shrink on that channel as a result of this most recent update. Imagine that you were able to cast your net 10 miles and now it is only 5, that could be a fair amount of lead flow and market share lost as a result.
How to deal with the update?
So this begs the question, what can you do? This is a very complicated question, but the general idea is to do everything possible to create more local relevance surrounding your Google Business profile. There are a variety of ways to do this, but housing localized content on your website can help. Meaning that the page in which you have your GBP linked to should somehow outline the area that you serve. If you are in a city and serve surrounding suburbs, listing those subuarbs on your homepage and then linking out to specific content about those suburbs is a good start. If you are in a suburb or smaller city doing the same a linking out to other cities to expand your reach as well.
On top of creating more local relevance, supplementing with PPC is an option as well. While many don’t like this option, running ads with location extensions can help with local relevancy and also help to recover some lead flow. The reality of the situation is that Google is a business so while these updates are often put out claiming they are only to help UX there is a reason that Google is one of the most cash heavy businesses in the world and that is advertising revenue. It is a constant balance between UX and meeting growth goals, hence this most recent update.
More than anything, keep your Google Business Profile up to date, active, and as accurate as possible and that will certainly help as well. That coupled with PPC and pulling levers to help with local relevance is your best formula to deal with this most recent update.