Why are Google Maps results more volatile than organic search results?
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Why are Google Maps results more volatile than organic search results?

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In my experience, and probably yours as well, the Google Maps/3-Pack results are constantly bouncing up and down, more frequently and less predictably than the organic results. The 3-pack changes as you walk from one end of town to the other, and it changes as you wait for 8am to become 8pm. Competitors, new and old, start and stop the leaderboard for no apparent reason. The organic results jump around too, Naturally. But one bucks like a rodeo horse and the other bucks like a rodeo horse about to become a gelding. Why this?

Google Maps results are hard to measure, harder to understand, and nearly impossible to predict. That doesn’t mean you can’t do effective local SEO anyway, but it’ll be easier and might lower your blood pressure a bit once you get a better handle on Maps results more likely to shiftwhy they are more likely to change and how you should adjust your strategy.

As always, I can only tell you what I’ve observed over the years. So if the question is why Google Maps weather is stormier than organic search weather, I would give you 19 reasons:

1. Map algorithm updates are smaller and easier to implement. It’s less hassle for Google to roll out an algorithm update that only affects local businesses than to roll out an algorithm update that can affect all businesses (local + national + international) and all websites (businesses + everything else). We’re talking millions of Google business profile pages vs. trillion of websites and billions of videos.

2. Business websites and backlinks are less likely to change from day to day. Organic results mostly depend on the companies websites and their backlinks. Google Maps results depend on websites and backlinks, as well as Google business profiles, local citations, reviews, etc suspensions. There are more moving parts that business owners and SEOs can tinker with on a daily basis to affect their Maps results and fewer moving parts that can alter organic results. On any given day, people are more likely to get three new reviews, mess up their GBP page, try spam, or report a competitor’s spam than they will get an attractive backlink.

3. The organic results must be crawled and indexed (or de-indexed). This can take a while, whereas a Google Business profile can appear on the map in minutes and be removed in minutes. On the map, Google’s gastrointestinal tract is shorter. (Smarter people than me can tell if Google Maps POIs are actually crawled by Googlebot and entered into another index, but suffice it to say that Google Maps results are not indexed in the same way as organic results.)

4. There are about 10 organic results on page one*, while the Google Maps equivalent of page one is the 3-pack with only 3 results (plus an ad). Companies are fighting for fewer places. (*Or whatever we call the top of the SERP these days infinite scrolling.)

5. In Maps, virtually everyone is a competitor, while in organic results, many of the other sites belong to companies that aren’t your direct competitor. Lots of directories, educational sites and other sites that are not on the other side of your chess board.

6. A business often has more Google Business Profile Pages than websites. Google needs to figure out what to do with all this redundancy and if and how to include it in search results. In particular, between businesses in the catchment area and larger organizations, you will find that more GBP pages compete for the same small number (3) highly visible places on Google Maps. Often you see the situation where a poorly run business also has weak local SEO but has £9 pages compared to a popular business with great reviews and solid backlinks that only has a £1 page GBP available. One has a lot more opportunities or attacks on the ranking, but the other is a better search result. So who will prevail? Damned if I know; The results are constantly changing.

7. Google may split Maps results between competitors in even more ways. For every company that ranks on terms that matter to its owners, there are about five companies trying to assert themselves. If you have 30 dentists in one city all trying to rank for roughly the same search terms in the same city, then a few will Rank for “dentists” and “dentist near me” and similarly sized terms, while others rank only for cosmetic terms, others only for oral surgery terms, still others only for pediatric terms, and so on. The dentist who is ranking for the broad term will also attempt to rank for the more specific terms, and the dentists who have been pigeonholed will attempt to rank for the broad terms. Continue to play.

8. Spam is easier to create on Google Maps and therefore even more common than in the organic results (and that’s saying a lot)l. Card spammers generally just need to create or modify a free GBP page instead of creating a website, buying a website, making a page, paying for spliced ​​content, or buying backlinks from questionable websites. The more spam that shows up in the results, the more situations you’ll experience with progressive ease, and therefore more ups and downs.

9. It’s easier to see cause and effect in maps. Change your title tag, style your homepage, switch to “service” pages, or get some locally relevant backlinks, and you’ll see an improvement in organic results next week, next month, or 7 months from now . Add keywords to your GBP name, remove a spam competitor from the map, switch to a new address, start showing your address after hiding it, or fix a poorly matched category or die wrong landing page url and you can make it See an instant jump (or drop) in rankings.

10. The possible benefit of successful maps spamming is near-instantaneous visibility. (Spamming the organic results can also get some quick visibility, but it usually takes a lot longer to overtake sites that may have been ranking and accumulating backlinks for many years.) Especially for the new or struggling business owner recommended company has the incentive The structure is very similar to the question “What do I have to lose?”

11. Google Maps spam that doesn’t work and incurs a penalty doesn’t affect organic visibility. Worst case scenario, if Google beats you, you’ll just get locked out of the map. Any non-card rankings you have will remain. In the meantime if your Property Anyone who is penalized for bad content or bad backlinks can destroy everything: your organic ranking And many of your maps rankings. When you spam cards, you have fewer reasons not to be greedy.

12. Google Maps results are monitored differently by Google employees and by competitors. The organic search results are not heavily monitored at all.

13. Speculation on my part: the Google Maps 3-pack appears juicier, and many business owners feel they are on the verge of ranking well. As such, many business owners and SEOs will do whatever they think gives them a push.

14. In highly competitive local markets (e.g., big city lawyers), Google selects results in such a way that the results are highly location-dependent. Why would Google show the good and relevant business 3 miles away when it can show another just 3 blocks away?

Maps results are balkanized to the point that every time a company moves, expands, closes, or conjures up a wrong location, the rankings go haywire.

15. Businesses are constantly expanding, relocating and closing. This is related to point #13 above. Since Venice update and even more since then, the organic results have was also location dependent. However, they aren’t as location dependent as Google Maps results and don’t tend to change as quickly in a given market (for the other reasons I’ve mentioned so far). The result is that the usual additions and departures of companies slowly change organic results and lightning-fast changes in Google Maps results.

16 Filter, So that two competitors at the same address all rank for the same terms on the local map, but at different times. One competitor will rank for everything and the other will be in the wild and then one day the shoe will be on the other foot.

17. Automatically generated Google company profile pages. Google may have created a GBP page that you didn’t want and didn’t even know you had until one day it started outperforming the GBP page you had created and were trying to rank for. The same goes for your competitors: they may have more GBP pages than they even want. Again, the bottom line is that Google has an inordinate number of GBP pages may Stay here or there in the Maps results (and never in the organic results).

18. So many unclear rules and quasi-rules in the Google Business Profile Quality Guidelines that many people break the rules without trying or even knowing they did it.

19. Unlisted and unpronounceable ingredients in the algorithmic sausage. I realize this sounds like a blip, but the longer I’ve been doing local SEO, the more I realize just how much I don’t know. The best thing you can do is observe, try things out, look for real world examples whenever you can, use common sense to clarify all advice and adjust as necessary. All I know is that there are other factors that change search results and I don’t know what they are. But the good news is that none of us need to know all the ingredients.

What’s to take away? Don’t put all your eggs in the Google Maps/3-pack basket. Invest more in your organic SEO. Your visibility on maps will usually improve along with him and you will have a relapse. Even the most reasonably savvy business owners and SEOs are working on their organic visibility with the vigor of a zoo panda with a hormone imbalance. This is a big mistake and often costly too. Don’t blow away either Videodon’t write off Google Ads and don’t forget about word of mouth and offline marketing.

What plausible (or organic) Google Maps volatility factors can you think of that I’ve missed? what else to do You Suspicious causing fluctuations?

Any first-hand accounts of crazy ups and downs in the leaderboard?

Was any part of my post unclear?

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