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SEO Highlights for December

December stamped on a piece of paper

As the holiday season approached, SEO continued at its normal pace. A couple of updates were finalised in December; where felt their impact was quite extensive.  If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.



Local Search Update Complete

Google took to Twitter on 8th December to confirm their update to the local search algorithm had finished rolling out. An update they omitted to tell us about in November (a mistake said Danny Sullivan).

Google Search Central tweet on completion of the local search update rollout

First rolling out in November, the update sought to tighten up its algorithm by re-distributing the weighting placed on different factors Google considers when creating search results pages. The impact has been widespread. The user’s proximity to a business is a factor that has become more important, with businesses dropping down in rankings the further they are from their address.

Keywords in the brand name has historically been a factor that possessed a strong weighting, rewarding businesses that did include their target keywords. Interestingly, with this update that weighting has reduced. Since roll out started businesses that include keywords in the name have seen a drop in rankings, whereas those that don’t include keywords in the name have been rewarded by this update. In the past business listings have used this strong weighting to include keywords as descriptors, which goes against Google’s Guidelines. Looks like this is a method that will now go out of style, if it hadn’t already.

Overall, a shake up to the rankings for businesses, but one that could prove beneficial to new businesses starting out.



Product Review Update

Following a major update in April, Google have released another product reviews update. The April update was designed to promote high quality reviews; that is, reviews that are deemed useful by search users. The December update was considered by Google likely to have an impact on organic rankings – especially where sites have made changes in response to the April update. Google does note however, that their assessment of review content is just one factor taken into consideration when ranking a site’s content.

The impact of this update was pretty big and volatile; it affected rankings much more than the April 2021 update did. For advice on publishing high quality reviews, check out Google’s Guidelines.

As a result of user feedback Google revealed they will be introducing two new features in a future update as well. These features are:

  • Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

So, the next step to improving reviews is to provide different types of content within the review, not just text. This helps prove the authenticity of the review, as well as improving its usefulness. The latter, however may not be the most helpful to merchants, with links to competitor sites being offered to users alongside their own.



Did we miss anything?

If there was anything else that happened in December that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk, or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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