penguin
With the recent refresh to Google's Penguin update and the continued subsequent refreshes from last year's Panda update many small businesses may wonder what impact these changes have on local search, but unlike the animals these updates are named after, the answer isn't so black and white.

How an algorithm update impacts a local website depends on how the site ranks in the search engines. I previously explained how search engines distinguish between localized and non-localized queries and when thinking of how a major algorithm update like Penguin or Panda may impact a website's rankings these factors can come into play.

If a site is ranking purely organically based on a localized search or a local query like "New York City Pizza" their site's rankings could be greatly impacted if they were to be penalized by an algorithm update.

On the other hand, if a site is ranking as a blended local result via Places search, I have seen websites piggy back off the strength of it's Places listing regardless of an algorithm update. Meaning that while the site may have been severely impacted in strictly organic search results, it seemed to fare better if they query was integrated with Places search.

Maps Rankings vs Organic Search Rankings

Another thing to consider is where the website feels the impact from the algorithm update. Though they technically should, sites that were hit in the organic search results do not always seem to be impacted when it comes to searches on maps.google.com. I am unfortunately working with two local businesses that were impacted by Google's Penguin update. In both cases the organic search traffic of the websites have been cut by nearly half. However, the impressions and actions data from Google Places has gone unaffected during the recent updates as you can see in one of the examples below.
Google Places Impressions and Actions Graph

Conclusion

Regardless of where you're competing, be it local or national, its important to stay on the good side of Google. Even local websites can feel the wrath of Google and the traffic provided from Google Places is not enough to be enough to supplement the losses from Google's organic search.

If you liked this you might enjoy What Would Google Do?

Mike Wilton

Mike Wilton took his love for internet marketing and made it into an obsession. His passion for search engine optimization and social media is only rivaled by his passion for music. Mike is a Southern California SEO specializing in SEO, Local Search Optimization, and Social Media Marketing.

Mike Wilton's Internet Marketing Blog

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4 Responses to “Can Google Algorithm Updates Like Penguin & Panda Impact Local Websites?”

  1. Centrelink says:

    The guide and instructions that you have shown here are very useful and I find it to be very helpful and relevant. I hope many will be able to receive great benefits from this information that you have shown here.

    Google keep changing its algorithm, been a headache when google panda and penguin came out.

  2. Sanjeev Rana says:

    Based on how Google rolled out Penguin and Panda recently, I’m finding it’s common for web masters to be confused about which algorithm update hit their websites. Penguin 1.0 and the latest Panda updates were so close that it’s easy to believe you were hit by one, when in fact, it could have been the other. Use the techniques I listed in this post to help you determine which update really hit your site. Then form a plan of attack knowing which cute animal you are dealing with.
    Directory sites List

  3. A Nizami says:

    Copy Paste Blogs Appear First in Google While The Original Last

    It seems Google have change its searching algorithm. Google downrank the websites/blogs that is not bonafide.
    On the otherhand, many Copy Paste Blog such as blogspot.com and wordpress.com appear first in the Google searching while the original blog last.
    For example the article “Bukti Tuhan itu Ada”:
    http://media-islam.or.id/2007/09/06/bukti-tuhan-itu-ada
    This is my article and published on September 6th, 2007. Previously with keyword: bukti tuhan itu ada (without apostrophe) the link appear as number 1. The article has been read more than 64,000 times while the website http://www.media-islam.or.id has been visited more than 3,758,216 times.
    But now even with certain keyword that only exist uniquely on that article:
    “Beriman bahwa Tuhan itu ada adalah iman yang paling utama” (WITH APOSTROPHE).
    The copy paste blogs appear first in the Google. While the original blog, http://www.media-islam.or.id even in the 5th page is still not found. What happen to Google?
    The result is as follow:
    http://agusnizami.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/copy-paste-blogs-appear-first-in-google-while-the-original-last/

  4. Marcus says:

    In our recent experience, sites struggling with Penguin / Panda problems will most certainly also be impacted in local results. Not to the same level but certainly, they won't be seeing page 1 results.