On December 16, 2021, Google announced that they completed an algorithm update which impacted local search results, also known as the “local pack” results. The algorithm change occurred between November 30 and December 8, 2021.

What did the Local Pack Algorithm Update change?

Google announced that the algorithm update “involved a re-balancing of various factors we consider in generating local search results”.

Google advised business owners with questions about ranking in the Local Pack to review their page about improving local rankings. Of course, Google’s page is very vague, mostly telling readers that their algorithm measures relevance, distance and prominence. (Don’t worry, we’ll cover local search ranking factors in a moment.)

From our observations, Google basically twisted the dials of their primary ranking factors determining which business is the most relevant to display. That said, a few specific changes we noticed:

The December 2021 Google Local Pack Algorithm Update did not change organic results.

Local Pack Ranking Factors

In the vast majority of cases, business owners can expect to rank in the local pack based on a handful of factors. The most important factors are:

Bizarre changes?

While we focus on personal injury law firms here, we’ve seen a wide variety of business types appear and disappear in & out of the local pack with this algorithm update.

Here’s an example of a Milwaukee personal injury attorney who has lost some visibility in the latest update. The circles represent his ranking position in the Local Pack based on a user’s GPS coordinates. As you can see, they still rank well miles away from their location, even though they may not rank in the 3 pack nearby. It’s strange.


Google Local Pack Layout Update December 9, 2021:

On December 9, 2021, Google changed the layout of the Local Pack on desktop.

We have been documenting Google’s test of this change since July 2021.

Here’s a before and after of what the local pack looks like:

Did you Lose rankings in the Google Local Pack?

If you lost rankings in the Local Pack, all hope is not lost. To regain the most visibility possible, make sure that you are:

  1. Ranking well organically
  2. Getting as many positive reviews as possible
  3. Make sure your Google My Business profile is filled out 100% with as many pictures as possible and monitor it for changes.

If you lost visibility during The December 2021 Google Local Pack Algorithm Update contact us today and we’ll take a look at what you’ve got going on.


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