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Why Google Maps Rankings Are More Volatile Than Organic Search Rankings

Google Maps Rankings

Understanding the Factors That Make Google Maps Rankings Harder to Predict

If you’re a business owner or SEO strategist trying to improve your local search rankings, you’ve probably noticed that the Google Maps/3-pack results are much more volatile than the organic search results. Rankings can change dramatically from one day to the next, and even from one hour to the next. Enhance your local search presence by improving Google Maps rankings.

So why are the Maps results so unpredictable?

Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Google can make smaller, more frequent algorithm updates for local search results. This means that the Maps algorithm is more likely to change frequently than the algorithm for organic search results.
  • The Maps results depend on a wider range of factors than the organic results, including Google Business Profiles, local citations, reviews, and suspensions. This means that there are more variables that businesses can control (or manipulate) to affect their Maps rankings.
  • Google can update Maps results more quickly than organic results. Business profiles can appear on the map in just a few minutes, and they can be removed just as quickly.
  • There are only three spots available in the Maps 3-pack, compared to the roughly ten organic results on a typical search results page. This means that businesses are fighting over fewer spots, which can lead to more volatility in the rankings.
  • In Maps, virtually every business is a competitor. In the organic results, there are often non-competitive sites (such as directories and educational sites) mixed in with the competing businesses.


All of these factors make the Maps results harder to predict and more volatile than the organic search results. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your local SEO and rank well in the Maps results. By understanding these factors and focusing on the factors that you can control (such as your Google Business Profile and local citations), you can improve your chances of ranking well in the Maps results and driving more local traffic to your website. Contact us today for your Local SEO Experts.

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