Google local search results remain highly volatile since Google began rolling out its core algorithm update on May 4th. As a result, the top three local search results displayed in the 3-Pack on the first page of Google and Google Maps are changing daily.

One of the keywords we have been watching daily is “Tampa internet marketing,” since we are an internet marketing company based in Tampa. Before Google’s core algorithm update earlier this month, our company was listed in the top 3 for the keyword, which means we appeared twice on the first page of Google (once in the 3-Pack and once in national search results). Since the algorithm update, we have moved in and out of the 3-Pack, along with other companies.

As we investigated this issue, we found that Google is not filtering the listings to display top-rated companies at the top. Therefore, users must manually filter the listings to see the top-ranked listings at the top of the search results.

Google does not announce the details of their algorithms, so the reason for this change in search rankings is unknown.

Check Your Business’s Search Rankings

To see how your company ranks in search results, you can do it manually using a Chrome incognito browser. Though this method may not be perfect in every instance, you can get a reasonable idea of where your company stands in search results without buying the software used by SEO companies for analysis.

#1 Open a Chrome incognito browser. This starts a new session, and search results will not be delivered based on cache from previous sessions.

gif showing how to open a chrome incognito browser

#2 Do a search.

gif to show how to do a search in an incognito browser

#3 To do another search, open another Chrome incognito browser.

gif showing how to do another search in a Chrome incognito browser

What Should Companies Do?

Local companies depend on visibility in local Google search results to be found by customers online. Local search results are based on their Google My Business profile, in addition to other SEO factors. While waiting for volatility to subside in local search results, here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t overreact and try to “fix” your Google My Business (GMB) listing. There may be nothing wrong with your GMB profile, and you just need to wait until the Google algorithm normalizes. Then, you can see where you stand and make adjustments to SEO as needed.
  • Take this opportunity to review your GMB listing.
    • Ensure that your listing is verified.
    • Review the “Info” section to see if you can improve any of the information. Pay special attention to the categories, especially the primary category.
  • Review your website local SEO, including rich snippets.


YouTube Live: Google’s May 2020 Core Algorithm Update

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