Everything you need to know about Google’s ‘Hawk’ Update
If you own a business or if your interest lies in the field of web consulting, you are more than likely to be aware of the Google’s algorithms which impact the search results. Google comes up with new updates frequently which change the way how search result pages appear. Algorithms are directed towards removing the duplicate content from the web. The most recent update Google has come up with has affected how the local searches are done. Though it has no official name, the web has settled for the name Hawk considering how it swooped and changed the Possum algorithm which was the before last Google algorithm.
How Hawk corrected Possum algorithm update
The Hawk algorithm update does not have any impact on the non-organic local area searches as it is directed towards filtering out local searches. The prior update Possum had a flaw in its update. It removed local searches with same business name and services which have a similar address. Suppose you are a law firm working in the X Street and have business competition in the same street by a different law firm. There is a chance that Google has eliminated one of you from the search engine result and kept the law firm which has higher organic search ratings and with a stronger keyword presence.
So in that case of Possum update, same businesses which are sharing local address and nearby will be prone to be removed from search results based on their rankings. The business with higher ratings and good reviews stayed while others got eliminated. Although it took nearly a year to correct this mistake, Google has come up with a new algorithm called Hawk, around in August to improve the local searches. Google’s intention in algorithm updates was always to eliminate the duplicate content which creeps up in search engine result pages.
So business which shared same geographical location or was near got hugely affected by Possum update. It was because Google thought them to be duplicates of the same business. The businesses like law firms, hospitals which share the same street got affected the most. As a result, competitors ended up kicking each other out of search engine result pages. With the latest update of the Hawk, Google has managed to filter down the organic searches to same building or address.
By this update of Hawk, Google wants to remove the businesses from listings which have same address multiple times. Though it has reduced the extent of damage it did from its previous possum update, there are still few businesses which got affected by the Hawk update.
The impact of getting removed from listings can be still seen by services like medical and law firms or computer firms which share the same building space. They still get bumped off from the listings by their competitors with healthy ranking. The new update is better for the Google searcher who now will get all the possible list of services he needs in that geographic area (local search).
Chances to avert the damage
There are still few ways to improve the local SEO post the Hawk algorithm update. Google has always shown interest in what the reviewers think of your business and has given the ratings and rankings a top place. The business which has good ratings and reviews is likely to stay on the Search engine result pages (SERP). So get good reviews to improve your chances of staying in the SERPs.
Google wanted users to find good and credible services so it has placed a lot of trust on websites which have good ratings as it will likely come to the rescue of the user needs and find what they are searching for in the first place. If you encourage your clients and customers to leave a good word about your site or business on Google reviews, Yelp or another platform, it will add credibility to your business.
Be up-to-date on SEO
Where does Google go to know about your business? It will go to your website and check if your business has fulfilled all the criteria needed to be on the top of SERP. So make sure that your website is updated with what Google search engine wants and keep your pages updated with the latest address. Google business listings and technical SEO are far more important to Google than anything else. Add long tail keywords with geographically correct address and appropriate SEO Meta description.
Use neighborhood names in your landing pages and add appropriate keywords which highlight your physical store location. Care should be taken while adding keywords as repeated use may lead to the creation of duplicate content which is bad for your business. Always check your competitors landing pages located in your neighborhood to see if you share the same address and make appropriate changes to rectify the situation since Hawk update algorithm filters out businesses with the same physical address. Keep your local SEO fresh and always strategize to evolve fresh with Google’s updates.
My name is Nikhil Aggarwal. I’m currently working as Content Manager with SEO Experts India. I have a great passion for digital marketing and I help small and medium-sized businesses improve their online presence and grow their revenue by formulating effective digital marketing strategies for them. Apart from Digital Marketing, I have a keen interest in Entrepreneurship, Online Reputation Management, Outsourcing link building, Tech Consultancy, etc.