Google’s “Organic” Algorithm Is A Lot Faster Than Google’s Local Algo

March 18th, 2014

On March 15th, the WP Total Cache plugin on this site for some reason started serving Googlebot 403 response codes (aka “Access Denied”):
403 Access Denied Errors

As you can see organic entrances to my site via the home page have tanked over the past couple of days:

Local SEO Guide home page organic traffic

While traffic to other pages was down about 20% on Monday, it hasn’t totally cratered probably because Googlebot hasn’t crawled most of the other pages yet and hit the 403s.

One of the more interesting results of this psycho plug-in issue is that it clearly shows the relative speed of Google’s “organic” or “non-local” algo v. it’s “local” algo. On any given day, this site typically ranks #1 or #2 for “local seo” in the “organic” results. And over the past year or so, Google has decided that “local seo” queries should trigger a local pack. When I search from Pleasanton, CA, I am usually #1 in the local pack as well. Now when you search, you can see I am still #1 in the local pack, but I am nowhere to be seen in the organic results:

Google Local Results for local seo

(click to enlarge)

So if you ever wonder why sometimes it takes a long time to dislodge the #1 listing in the local pack, one likely reason is that Google’s local algo just takes its own damn time.

PostScript: About 9 hours ago I fixed the problem on my site and resubmitted the home page to Google via GWT. I am now seeing it rank #1 for “local seo” again. That organic algo is pretty damn fast.

Tags: Google+ Local · Local Search

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dharam Chaudhari // Mar 18, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Thanks Andrew for Sharing ! I felt the same way with one of my client’s site. Thanks for your view.

  • 2 Andrew Shotland // Mar 18, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    No prob Dharam

  • 3 Gene // Mar 18, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    You’re showing #1 organic for me, new browser session incognito.

  • 4 Andrew Shotland // Mar 18, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Allah be praised! Thanks Gene.

  • 5 Blake Denman // Mar 19, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Caffeine is our friend.

    Google+ Local/Places/Pages/Maps is like sugar. All perky at first, and then the inevitable crash ;)