Google’s Hawk Update: What you Need to Know


Prior to any algorithm update, everyone waits with bated breath and upon its release—panics. What has changed? Has anything improved? Or is it all back to square one for your local SEO management?

The best thing to do upon the release of an algorithm update is to accept it, and do the research on what the update means for your company. More often than not, you’re going to have to make some changes, but that’s not the end of the world.

At the end of August 2017, Google’s “Hawk” update soared onto the scene. So, what do you need to know about it?

It’s only directed at local services.

If you’re working with searches that don’t have local intent, you’re not going to notice any changes because of Hawk.

Many businesses have been unfiltered.

Google’s Possum update saw the filtering of many listings that were in the same field and shared an address or building. Many businesses suffered, with a competitor in the same building or down the street sometimes outranking them. So, if you were hit by Possum, you could now be seeing increased rankings!

There’s more to come.

With Google rolling out updates monthly, it’s clear they’re trying to rapidly evolve their services to suit their needs, and those of their user base.

If your business is located in the same building as a similar business, there’s still a good chance this update hasn’t unfiltered one of you. Google’s algorithm is more location-based than ever and, as always, chooses to focus on streamlined and relevant information to hand out to anyone using their engine.

Being filtered from a search engine doesn’t mean you’ve been removed. Your listing is still there, it’s just a little harder to find. To view all the similar companies in one building, a user will have to zoom in on the building closely or be searching from next door.

What factors affect whether you’re filtered or not?

Older businesses with more reputation and a longer history of ranking are less likely to be filtered out, as well as businesses with a high organic ranking.

The whole point of filtering listings is to crack down on spam, and spam listings tend to not have a very strong organic presence.

Now more than ever, it’s important to make sure that all of your citations are accurate. Duplicate listings will get the axe quickly so check to see that your name, address and phone number (NAP) profiles are all consistent and unique.

Hawk may have swooped in to eat up Possum, but as any SEO expert knows, there’s another update waiting in the wings that we’ll be examining in no time. Keep calm and carry on with those regular check-ins of Google’s algorithms and your company’s SEO!


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