How Google's Core Update is affecting Local Product Visibility

About 4 times per year, Google releases what they call ‘Core Updates’, which are broad updates to their search algorithms that determine what results show up for any given search term you enter in Google.

These Core Updates are usually thought of as mostly affecting web pages, and therefore are a hot topic in the SEO community. They however also tend to have an effect on things our retailers care more about – local product listings and Google Business Profiles.

The most recent Core Update was released mid-March, over a period of about 2 weeks, which Google prefers to do as they can monitor the impact on search behaviour. 

This particular update started rolling out on the 15th of March and finished on the 28th of March. From the 15th, we’ve seen an impact on the number of times our retailer’s products have surfaced in Google:

Average weekly impressions

It is normal for a Core Update to lead to volatility in search results however, we’ve not seen such a significant drop in product results being surfaced since a core update since 2022. This update decreased the likelihood of the Local 3-Pack showing up at the top of the results page:

Weekly average impressions

We expect this to be an unintended side effect of the Core Update trying to better balance brand-related vs non-brand search results. Since Google doesn’t release any details about their algorithm updates, however, we can only base these assumptions on behaviours observed elsewhere in the SEO community.

Google tends to release smaller algorithm updates in the weeks and months between Core Updates, and we’re expecting to see this trend reversed in the next couple of weeks, as Google prefers to keep people on their platform rather than linking them away to another site, and therefore our local product listings are the type of result they like to surface.

The good news? This only seems to apply to local product listings, and business profile views in search results seem to be unaffected:

Average search views

Get more in-store customers

Make in-store inventory visible to millions of people searching for it nearby.

Find out more
Get more in-store customers