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Local Memo: Almost All SGE Links Differ from Organic, Study Finds


In this week’s update, learn about a new study showing the difference between SGE results and organic search; the sunsetting of GBP Websites; scroll-stopping hooks for social media; a possible local algorithm update; apartment listings in Google results; and Google’s promotion of sustainability in local search and travel in 2024.


Almost All SGE Links Differ from Organic, Study Finds


A new analysis from Authoritas claims that SGE results have different links from those in the traditional search result 94% of the time. In fact, those that do match on the domain level are often not the same page as that found in organic search; exact matches to the same page only occur 1.6% of the time, in other words almost never. 


The Authoritas study focuses on 1,000 commercial keywords in 10 categories including automotive, ecommerce and retail, entertainment, fashion and apparel, finance, food and beverage, health and wellness, legal, technology and electronics, and travel and hospitality. SGE results in the set tended to show 10 links overall, but some of them are repeated, with snapshots averaging 4 unique links each. About 87% of results had an SGE snapshot (not all results do when SGE is enabled). 


SGE is expected to impact traffic to websites by providing the direct answer to many user questions in search. Some websites could benefit from users wanting to learn more and clicking through the SGE result, but these sites, according to the Authoritas study, will be very different from those now ranking, at least for commercial search terms.


Authoritas data shows that few organic links are found in the SGE snapshot, and those that are come only from the top 9 organic results


Authoritas data shows that few organic links are found in the SGE snapshot, and those that are come only from the top 9 organic results


Google Will Sunset GBP Websites


Google has announced that it is shutting down the Websites feature in Google Business Profiles. Primarily utilized by small businesses, the feature was once popular amongst local SEOs, offering businesses a free website that was easy to set up and maintain. Websites will be shut down as of March 1 and until June 10 will redirect users to the Google Business Profile for the business. Google says this is being done due to low engagement. 


Scroll-Stopping Hooks for Social Media Content


A clever infographic from social media advisor Angie Gensler lists 110 “scroll-stopping social media hooks.” She defines a social media hook as “a concise and attention-grabbing element that captures attention and engages an audience within the fast-paced and competitive environment of social media.” The list includes phrases with blanks you can fill in that can be used to prompt engagement in social media posts. This is sometimes a challenge for brands, but Gensler reminds us that engagement can be generated simply by asking for it, with prompts like “What’s your opinion?” and “Which side of [this issue] are you on?” 


Possible Local Algorithm Update


The Bright Local tool known as Local RankFlux indicated a potential local algorithm update on Thursday, January 4, with a volatility rating of 5.92 out of 10, and again on Tuesday, January 9, where the volatility rating was 5.54.  Though such reports are often uncorroborated, Barry Schwartz reports that this time, many in the local SEO community say their clients were impacted either positively or negatively. No indication yet as to what factors were involved in the update, if that’s what it was; Schwartz mentions the recent openness update having occurred too long ago (circa November) to be an explanation. 


Apartment Listings Showing Up in Google Results


Dan Buchy has noticed that Google has begun displaying apartment listings as featured content in search results, apparently crawled from third party websites. This feature is difficult to reproduce and so may only be a test on Google’s part. Though Buchy suggests that the apartment listings are being added to Google Business Profile results, it’s hard to see from the screenshot that this is the case. They appear to my eye more like a specialized search feature than a local result —  but I cannot reproduce the feature myself so it’s hard to tell for sure.


An example of apartment listing's appearing in Google's search results


Courtesy Dan Buchy


Google Promotes Local Sustainability for 2024


Google has a new blog post listing 10 recent updates that are helping consumers make sustainable choices in travel and local purchases.


These include:

  1. Showcasing of travel options like high-speed rail and carbon emissions estimates in Google Flights
  2. A green leaf icon in Google Maps helping users find the most fuel efficient routes
  3. Special search features when shopping for electric vehicles
  4. A Fuel Cost Calculator comparing the cost of electric and gas vehicles
  5. Navigation help for EV drivers with estimates of battery charge when traveling
  6. Support for finding EV charging stations in Google Maps
  7. Ability to set EV charger type in Maps to get only relevant results
  8. Search features showing energy efficiency of home heating and cooling systems
  9. Support for recycling station searches like “plastic bottle recycling near me”
  10. “Pre-owned” labels helping users find used clothing as well as “refurbished” for electronics

Damian Rollison

With over a decade of local search experience, Damian Rollison, SOCI's Director of Market Insights, has focused his career on discovering innovative ways to help businesses large and small get noticed online. Damian's columns appear frequently at Street Fight, Search Engine Land, and other publications, and he is a frequent speaker at industry conferences such as Localogy, Brand Innovators, State of Search, SMX, and more.

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