Release the Kraken!

Update 4/11/15: According to a little birdie who spoke with Gary Iyles at the BrightonSEO conference, Gary “guaranteed” pack rankings won’t be affected. Guess we shall see…

Google’s pending Mobile-Friendly algo update has become the Apple Watch of SEO – I can’t look at my Twitter feed without a blur of “How to get ready for Mobilegeddon” posts streaming by, so I might as well jump on in. Jennifer Slegg over at the SEMPost reports that Gary Iyles, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, said at the Brighton SEO conference that Google’s Mobile Friendly Ranking Signal Will Not Affect Local Pack Listings: According to Illyes, if a local business is appearing in the Google Pack results, but does not have a mobile friendly site, their listing in the Pack results will NOT be impacted.  Those Google My Business listings will remain. Now I have no clue how this mobile update will affect anything and I am generally wary of Google’s ability to know how an update will affect anything, particularly Local rankings, until it actually pushes the button and releases the Kraken. But Iyles’ statement strikes me as potentially a very Googley version of Truthiness. Here’s my tin-foil hat translation:

  1. The Local Pack algorithm will not be changed. We are not touching it. Any time we touch that thing, all hell breaks loose.
  2. Your GMB “listing” will not be impacted! It’s mobile-friendly after all. Pay no attention to the fact that I didn’t say anything about your GMB listing’s rankings in the Google Pack results. Those Google My Business listings will remain in our index – all your GMB dupes will too.
  3. Don’t worry about the fact that 2014’s Pigeon update supposedly increased the influence of “Web Ranking Signals” on the Local Pack algorithm and that we said “we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal”.
  4. Even though we may be changing our “Web Ranking” algorithm, as I said, we are not touching the Local Pack algorithm. It’s still going to rely on “Web Ranking Signals” in the same way it has since Pigeon came out.


Update 4/11: Dr. Pete had the following interesting observation:

& Gary Ilyes, Jennifer & I had a clarifying conversation on Twitter (note Storify could not capture all of the tweets. You can follow the whole conversation here.)

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4 Response Comments

  • Michael S. Doran  April 10, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I would bet that the local pack rankings will be affected. I have seen many times, a local listing ranking because of the strength of the website. They are certainly tied together. If a website ranking drops, the local listing could as well. I will be surprised if it doesn’t.

  • Mick kenyon  April 10, 2015 at 11:50 am

    I think over here in the UK the message is not getting through that mobile friendly sites are important, mind you most business haven’t heard of GMB yet! It will be interesting to see what does happen on the 21st, as a website designer I hope it brings in the customers

    • Andrew Shotland  April 10, 2015 at 11:58 am

      Mick, something tells me they may start to prick up their ears after the 21st…