In August 2017, Google released a major algorithm update, called “Hawk”. Here we talk about what this update is all about and what it means for your company. In Classic Google style, the search giant was very silent with this local search ranking algorithm rollout as well and there was no official announcement about it.

Webmasters, as well as searches across the globe, have noticed some distinct changes in the local search results on Google; it’s also evident now that this release undid some updates that had been launched via the “Possum” update.

The impact of “Hawk” on local search results

The major change noticed with the ‘Hawk’ release is that it has altered how the local filter works. In the past, the search engine would just filter out any listings that were similar to others in ranking and it would then pick the one that was most relevant and filter out the rest. This working is very similar to the manner in which Google sieved duplicate content.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The notable advantage of having these filters was that it eliminated the chances of multiple listings from the same sites or brands in the search results. The Possum update had started filtering out listings that were in the physical proximity of the ranked business.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]However, this strategy lacked logic as it shunted out a number of other businesses that existed in that same district or even on that very street. Google’s Hawk update addressed this particular issue to a certain extent; it does not filter out every single business in the vicinity, but filters out the business that are within a set distance from the ranked business.

Hawk’s filtering radius

While this update hasn’t helped everyone, it has reduced the scope of which business gets filtered out of the local search results. It has scrunched the distance for filtering out listings that are similar but hasn’t removed it altogether.

Any listings that share an address or building continue to be filtered out. As a matter of fact, many businesses in various buildings in the vicinity are also being filtered out. While Hawk hasn’t fully addressed the existing proximity filter issue, it’s going to help numerous businesses get the chance to rank better.

If Google removes the filter altogether, that will only lead to a slew of local search results with too many listings from similar businesses. So at this point of time, ‘Hawk’ seems to be a reasonable update and it is definitely a step ahead of Possum.