Google’s latest algorithm update is once again shaking up local search results – and this time it’s great news for local businesses! The new Google Hawk update directly affects local SEO and could mean better online visibility for local businesses. More specifically, it’s designed to level the playing field for businesses in close proximity to their competitors.
Let’s take a closer look at what all the fuss is about.
What is Google’s Hawk Update?
Hawk is an algorithm update designed to improve the geo-filtering Google uses to surface organic local search results. This means Google is now better at identifying when similar business listings are duplicates that should be ignored and when they’re actually two separate businesses that just happen to be near each other.
Why Is Hawk Important for Local Businesses?
Before Hawk, a business’ online visibility could be negatively affected by a similar business with a nearby address. In fact, one business could inadvertently dominate local search results, leaving all nearby competitors off the results page for no good reason.
For example, if two restaurants are on the same street, Google would sometimes mistake the two business listings for a single restaurant with a duplicate listing. Of course, Google doesn’t want to show duplicate listings in search results, which means only one of the two restaurants would appear in local SERPs when diners searched for places to eat.
Hawk is Google’s Response to Good Intentions Gone Bad
Allowing one business to fully knock competitors out of search results is obviously not ideal for the businesses or local consumers, so why did Google introduce this filter in the first place?
Originally, the filter was developed to prevent unscrupulous businesses from dominating search results by creating multiple listings. Unfortunately, this backfired and led to some businesses being dropped from local search results altogether.
We already know that Google is serious about tackling duplicate business listings, which is why this Hawk update is so important. The update will allow Google to target and penalize duplicate business listings without harming innocent local businesses in the process.
Hopefully, any local businesses that were affected by the filter before Hawk will soon get the boost in local search results they deserve.