Danny Sullivan of Google posted an update to the local search volatility from late last month through early this month – saying it was a bug that was resolved about two weeks ago. The fix Google rolled out then he said “seems to have stabilized things since.”
Initially Google said there was no update but asked for examples that the company can look into to see what was going on. It turned out that there indeed was no local search ranking update, but rather some sort of bug that caused the local search volatility in Google Maps and Google Search.
Danny said on Twitter “Just wanted to update. Thanks for the examples. They helped us find a bug that we got resolved about about two weeks ago, and that seems to have stabilized things since.”
Here is that tweet:
Just wanted to update. Thanks for the examples. They helped us find a bug that we got resolved about about two weeks ago, and that seems to have stabilized things since.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 28, 2020
It is indeed true that the past week or so has been pretty quiet in terms of local ranking changes in Google Maps and Google Search.
I wonder what this bug was about but I guess this is an example of the SEO community helping Google find an issue with search and Google fixing something to make it better. Google does make mistakes, Google does investigate issues, and Google will fix bugs it finds.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Update: Although Danny responded to the questions regarding a local search update; it may be specifically related to dealerships being shown – but I am not sure. It doesn’t make much sense why Danny would reply there?
Joy Hawkins, a top local SEO, told me there may be some confusion and the bug that was fixed was related to the car dealership issues, not the local ranking fluctuations. She shared the thread I linked to above and these tweets:
@dannysullivan it looks like the issue car dealers are facing is impacting other industries too. This search is very straightforward yet gives me the pharmacy inside Walmart and the actual Walmart listing is nowhere to be found. Kind of frustrating when you’re trying to see hrs. pic.twitter.com/v02BBZ2Uea
— Joy Hawkins (@JoyanneHawkins) May 18, 2020
Yep, I saw that and referenced in my write-up. Appreciated the summary.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) February 21, 2020