Many of you may have already seen this but here’s a list of some of the sites that have “lost” or been most affected by the Google Farmer algo update (per sistrix):
Aaron Wall also has a lengthy and interesting article on what’s going on. Many IYP and local directory sites appear to be affected as well as those above, although I haven’t systematically done enough searches on local queries to confirm this.
I have argued for the past couple of years that local sites need to rely less on SEO and create stronger brands that bring direct navigation on Google. (Publishers still need to do SEO and can still sell it as a service to SMBs.) However, most recently, last year, I wrote:
Today lots of people are trying to unravel the new Google Place Search algorithm and figure it out, even before it’s generally launched to the public. Regardless, local SEO is not the traffic source it once was . . . or let’s say it’s more challenging for IYPs and local publishers to get the kind of exposure on page one of Google that they used to get.
Local publishers now, more than ever, need to answer the “why question” — “Why should consumers use our site?” You need to have a one line answer to that question and build a strong or stronger brand around that answer, which can attract direct traffic to your online or mobile site/app. Brand is a mix of several factors, including usability but also “personality” in my mind.
If you can’t answer that “why question” quickly and clearly, you won’t be able to communicate it to consumers. And if they don’t understand why they should use your site in this increasingly competitive local marketplace — with more visible brands moving in quickly — they won’t.
Now Google wants publishers to answer the “why question” as well.